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Analysts argue Windows 8 does not bring a compelling set of features for business users, drawing Vista comparisons

Windows 8 lands on Friday, and with it the big question of whether the consumer-friendly operating system is as good a fit as previous versions of Windows, which were more stodgy and business-minded from an interface perspective.

I. Businesses May Not Want Windows 8

While there have been some opinionated folks decrying the merits of Windows 8 for business users, the greater sentiments of the business community towards the upcoming product remain largely unknown.  Currently an estimated 41 percent of the world's 1.5 billion PCs run Windows XP.  In other words, in the near term, many businesses are still working on their Windows XP to Windows 7 transition plan and have little thoughts on Windows 8 adoption.

Analysts are still busily debating the merits of the upcoming Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) OS product, whose early adoption rates are trailing those of Windows 7

Analyst Michael Cherry told Reuters in a recent briefing, "Some organizations, when they look at Windows 8 Intel tablets, they are going to like them because they are manageable.  When they look at RT they are going to be disappointed, because it's no easier to manage than an iPad."

In other words, x86 tablets -- like those bearing Intel Corp. (INTC) chips -- may bear an advantage for businesses over current tablets, but Windows RT tablets (built with ARM chips) will likely not.

Gartner, Inc. (IT) analyst Michael Silver says he expects Windows 8 to never catch on to the extent of Windows XP or Windows 7, even years down the road.  He comments, "We believe 90 percent of large organizations will not deploy Windows 8 broadly, and at its peak, we expect about 20 percent of PCs in large organizations will run Windows 8."

Windows 8 boxes
Windows 8 boxes on diplay at Wal-Mart [Image Source: The Verge]

Doug Johnson, head of risk management policy at the American Bankers Association, similarly argues to Reuters, "Windows 8 is, frankly, more of a consumer platform than it is a business platform, so it's not something that makes any sense from a business perspective at this juncture.  There is really no additional business functionality that Windows 8 gives you that I see."

II. Does it Matter?

Increasingly Microsoft's revenue stream is driven by licensing software (such as Office and SQL Server 2008), rather than licensing operating systems.  Last year OS sales only accounted for 25 percent of Microsoft's bottom line versus 30 percent five years ago.  

And a large portion of OS revenue -- roughly 40 percent -- comes from bulk licensing agreements with free upgrade provisions.  For that type of licenses, IT departments' decision to adopt or pass on a particular version of Windows makes no difference, as long as the business is using some version of the OS.

In other words, as murky as Windows 8's business fate may be, the impact of those long-term sales on Microsoft's bottom line is even more unclear.  That said, the general air of skepticism from business users is a concern for Microsoft in the long term, and definitely something Microsoft will (or, at least, should) take into acount when crafting Windows 8's successor.

Source: Reuters



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RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Argon18 on 10/24/2012 10:39:36 PM , Rating: 2
Meh, not quite. Reboots multiple times per week is the norm, even with the latest version of Windows Server.

Secondly, Linux and UNIX does just about everything an enterprise needs, without the hassle and expense of Windows. HP-UX for example, excels at Virtual Machines, and delivers a real value proposition to large businesses, as a single HP-UX license is good for unlimited virtual machines. Microsoft, on the other hand, charges a per-VM OS licensing cost that can be in the $Millions for a large business. No thanks.

Thirdly, Yes RedHat is a major player in the Linux space. But so is SuSE. IBM is huge in Linux, including supporting it on a variety of hardware platforms including AMD64 and IBM POWER.

Yes, the admins support the machines. They're stable enough and intuitive enough that they don't need to spend countless hours and countless headaches on the phone with Microsoft Support services - instead they can do real work and solve real business problems on their own.

Lastly, Microsoft's "big box" approach to software works fine for canned tasks like corporate email, or Windows file & print. Not so good for anything else. The Linux and UNIX command line, with plain text as the data interchange standard, and the tools to pipe input and output between ANY pieces of software is unparalleled in the Windows world. Microsoft has nothing that compares to this. If Exchange doesn't have the specific feature you want, too bad, you can't do it.

FYI, I know what I'm talking about, I just recently migrated over 60 Exchange/Win2003 servers to RHEL and HP-UX virtual machines, saving the company more than $200,000 per year in Microsoft licensing.

Cheers


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