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Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?

Analysts don't expect Windows 8 to establish enterprise dominance -- but Microsoft's real problem continues to be lack of enthusiasm from consumers.

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Microsoft Surface Pro: Is It Right For You?
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Even before Windows 8 launched, analysts were skeptical about the new OS's prospects in the enterprise. Since then, the re-imagined version of Microsoft's flagship product has posted a mixed record that compares modestly to the debut of its wildly popular predecessor, Windows 7. The upgrade has been available for less than four months, so Windows 8's fate is far from written, especially with the Surface Pro just becoming available and more powerful Ultrabooks on the way. Even so, trends suggest that businesses will continue to wait on Windows 8, and that Microsoft might have to wait until Windows 9 to reassert its enterprise status.

In an email, Paulo Camara, head of mobility services at IT firm Ci&T, said that it's possible Windows 8 adoption will pick up later this year, but because the "next Windows version certainly will include the strengths of Windows 8 and fix its main gaps," it "will have a faster adoption by enterprises." The important question, he said, is when this more persuasive OS might arrive. In the meantime, he stated that Windows 8 devices will exist primarily within specific business verticals that can benefit from mobility, such as retail departments.

In an interview, Forrester analyst David Johnson similarly said that some companies are investigating Windows 8 in "pockets" but that few have found anything urgent enough to compel a widespread deployment. "Everyone seems to like Windows 7," he said, adding that the reaction to Redmond's new OS among Forrester clients has been "a mixed bag" and that "most of the time, the iPad is perceived as simpler and more secure to support."

"Windows 8 is still perceived as complex, as requiring user training and app redevelopment," Johnson said.

[ Have you patched? See Microsoft Fixes 57 Bugs In Windows, Office, IE. ]

It's important to point out, though, that Microsoft's leaders surely foresaw weak enterprise sales when they devised their Windows 8 strategy. Leading up to the product's launch, most businesses were still either recouping Windows 7 investments or in the process of migrating to Windows 7 from Windows XP. Given these conditions and the fact that Windows 8's touch-centric interface could only be enjoyed on new hardware, it made more financial sense for enterprises to upgrade conservatively, and businesses have since found additional reasons, such as compatibility with existing workflows and resources, to stick with their current OS deployments as long as possible.

It's not that Windows 8 doesn't offer IT-friendly enhancements; rather, as Johnson noted in a Nov. 16 blog post, it's that the enhancements only add value for employees whose jobs involve mobility. For most purposes, Windows 7 remains good enough. In another post, Johnson argued that consumers would drive Windows 8 adoption, echoing a point Gartner research director Gunnar Berger made in July.

Indeed, with the computing landscape tipping toward mobile devices, touchscreens and BYOD, Microsoft found itself without a strong foothold in the markets that will matter most in the future. It needed to establish a presence in the consumer-driven mobile space while both supporting traditional users and conditioning them to the new touch interface.

"It's a strategy of hope that people want to gravitate toward the new interface," said Johnson. Unfortunately for Microsoft, Johnson said, "initial signs are not positive." Redmond might not have been banking on enterprise sales, but it's likely the company hoped for better traction from consumers, whose initial enthusiasm for Windows 8 tablets appears to have been dampened by experience with the available options.

Forthcoming devices could still reverse this trend, of course. Microsoft could still win by focusing on tablet mindshare over enterprise adoption rates. Even so, if consumers are currently a more meaningful barometer than businesses, the progress hasn't been auspicious.

But what about the enterprise?

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User Rank: Strategist
2/14/2013 | 7:47:19 PM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
We just converted from XP to Win 7 this year. I. T. is not going to make a new huge investment in Windows 8,9 unless Win 7 is not supported by Microsoft. My personal feeling is that Win 8 does not offer advantages that can attract huge investment change. It is obvious that Microsoft is milking the corporate cow each time it phases out an operating system. Each phase of the Microsoft Evolution seems to give out a tid bit that makes the new operating system only slightly better than it's predecessor. Customers want the full potential that Microsoft is capable of creating. Not a fast developed sloppy operating system full of security holes and bugs. Windows 8 seems to be a step in the right direction, but not exactly by leaps an bounds. Windows 8 reminds me for some reason, of when Coke-a Cola changed it's loved recipe, and then lost the backup.
User Rank: Moderator
2/14/2013 | 7:29:28 PM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
Jabberwolf - you are trivializing the difficulties. Desktop is not 100% the same and using the desktop is harder than it used to be - checking printer status for example is no longer going to the menu and selecting "devices and printers" now its right-clicking in the corner and selecting "control panel" then finding printers in either the "H" area (hardware and Sound) when in category view or the "D" area (devices and printers) when in icon view. For some of our users who are locked out of using the control panel, this is proving to be a real issue.

Maybe for your users its trivial, I have people who can't find "email"" because it is named outlook and it is hidden inside the "Microsoft Office" menu. For them a carefully managed start screen would be a boon, but the lack of any GPO controls and central management abilities to the start screen make it very difficult to do anything useful.

Metro-style (are they called "Windows 8 Apps" now?) apps are very problematic - they must be individually installed for every user on a shared computer which makes them more work than a desktop app, allowing random installs from the Microsoft appstore can be locked out but the infrastructure to set up a corporate appstore appears to be quite significant, and so far - after a year of development there is not one metro-style app that is generally recognized to be best-in-class, not one! which bodes poorly for the corporate environment and if a company isn't really planning to switch to Metro-style apps then why bother to upgrade?
User Rank: Apprentice
2/14/2013 | 5:17:48 PM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
I like Windows 8. I now have four licenses (Pro upgrade) for home PCs (two desktops and two laptops). It is faster and smoother than Windows 7. Compatibility seems to be the same as Windows 7.

I don't like the Start screen (Metro interface). I have two non-touch monitors. The 24" monitor looks stupid with the tiles (at work I have a 30" and 24" monitor, so it would be even worse). The fix was a simple Windows 8 start menu app (see: I like StartMenu8. I boot directly to the desktop. Now I get the benefit of the Windows 8 speed and the interface of Windows 7.

Why Microsoft doesn't understand that booting directly to the desktop makes sense for PCs with multiple big monitors is unfathomable. The start screen is probably okay on a tablet, but for my desktop PCs it is ridiculous.
User Rank: Apprentice
2/14/2013 | 5:09:34 PM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
Yes but if MS ingests a laxative it could be purged. Then with probiotic therapy. . . .
User Rank: Apprentice
2/14/2013 | 5:07:48 PM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
Why wait? Install Linux now!!!
User Rank: Apprentice
2/14/2013 | 5:05:47 PM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
Im almost laughing here.
Requires training?
OK here is the training, you have 2 modes: tablet and desktop. Understand this, and done.
For desktops, I tweak it so it goes directly into desktop mode (or for anyone that makes this request).

@Mslbfx keep your job as a mac user working at Starbucks.

We can now manage the OS and rollout updates and programs onto people wanting to use a tablet as well as a desktop, oh and its the same device. The user no longer needs 2 devices, each with a separate OS, seperate Apps, and separate management.

For now, we use all tablets as an endpoint only that remotes into a corportate environment where their virtual desktop is provided. The only issue we are having are separating profiles for Win7 and Win8 - this is still experimental and we might just go to virtual Win8 machines to match the user.

I love windows 8 but the idea behind it, is to unify all devices under the same OS. Older x86 programs, however, wont work on a phone with an arm or snapdragon processor and thats why MS wants people to push torwards creating Metro Apps. I think MS kinda misses the point that the "desktop" an x86 apps that use this, will not go away and the "desktop" will not go away at all. People like it and need it.

Businesses are not waiting for Win9, as the wait is for the applications to change, not the OS.
User Rank: Apprentice
2/14/2013 | 4:39:32 PM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
On a personal, as well as business, level, Windows 8 is an endless piece of poo.

On Monday, I made the decision to downgrade, back to 7.

8 is an entrepreneur's worst could imagine it was designed by Apple, with the idea that it would cause users to switch their OS.
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