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2/14/2013
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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.

Microsoft Surface Pro: Is It Right For You?
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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Prakash Bala
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Prakash Bala,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/29/2013 | 7:13:56 AM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
Enterprises will never move to 8, Windows 8 has dual face, desktop face and a swipe face.. Enterprises doesnt like this thing first of all, they need performance and usability. Once you start to install more apps, 'the start' becomes more clumpsy. Actually 'start' is less intuitive, its just like putting the old start in a horizontal mode. There is no recent apps.Sorry Windows 8, you are elegant but irritating.
JBURT000
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JBURT000,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/17/2013 | 5:05:16 PM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
No they're waiting to install Windows 7.
NPCO
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NPCO,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/17/2013 | 2:55:52 PM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
While it may be far from proven, I don't think anyone would be against a do-it-all product so long as it wasn't compromised and/or overpriced. Unfortunately, Microsoft's Surface fails on both counts.

Microsoft had a perfect opportunity to make some headway in the mobile market. I have an Android tablet, and while I like it, it's a toy of limited use. Fine for what it is, and the $200 I paid for it, but a toy. The iPad is similarly limited in capabilities, but far too expensive for me to justify. Had Microsoft come in with a true Windows tablet for around that same price, they'd have had me sold. But instead, they gouge in memory, gouge on keyboards, and gouge on the device overall. $1000+ for a tablet, sorry. No sale.
Johnnythegeek
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Johnnythegeek,
User Rank: Strategist
2/17/2013 | 1:15:51 PM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
I think a lot of people are sitting back and waiting. Windows 7 for many is still rather new and it works.Especially for businesses who many just in the last year moved from XP to Win7. For me personally I cannot understand how a touch screen laptop will work any better then what I can do with a touchpad?
For me I don't see myself adopting Win8 at all. I plan to stick with Win7 as long as its supported.
sjacks982
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sjacks982,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/16/2013 | 6:12:18 PM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
If journalists at Info Week actually had technical skills they would realize that there are not many significant codebase changes between Vista and Windows 7 and Windows 8. (Reg keys and restriction code mostly; its not that Office2013 can't run on Vista but the installer won't allow it to install. Ditto XP mode.) Couple that with the current SMB economic slump and die-hard XP/2003 shops and waiting for a significant codebase upgrade means Windows 8 will have the sales of an intermediate release like Vista.
sjacks982
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sjacks982,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/16/2013 | 4:23:30 PM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
Microsoft has gone downhill since the Pepsi salesman took over. Pepsi wasn't successful being a cheap copy of Coke; Microsoft will not be successful as long as Balmer wants to be a cheap copy of Apple. Considering the exodus of technical leaders (Valentine, Glaser, Sinofsky, et al) and takeover by ("I'm not technical, I'm a people person"; that's what my last manager said) mediocre management talent, it sounds like Apple's descent into nothing under Skulley (so where will Microsoft get its Steve Jobs?).

moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
2/16/2013 | 3:01:01 PM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
Why not call Windows 8 what it really is: a really bad product. It is expensive, does not much that is worthwhile, and has a UI that most people hate. Not sure what the project Blue will contain, but if it does not rip out Metro then it is a pointless effort. And Microsoft needs to drop license prices and track back on the dumb license changes that were introduced recently. Currently, Microsoft delivers one good argument after another why consumers and enterprises should buy from someone else.
jimfrost01
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jimfrost01,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/15/2013 | 4:28:44 AM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
It's wishful thinking that Win8 is going to sell well later in the year as new devices show up. Its primary problem is not that the devices it already runs on are not reasonably appealing. Its problem is that they are way too expensive.

If you want mobile, as consumers most obviously do, iOS and Android are far less expensive. WinRT is the obvious Microsoft competitor here, but its application ecosystem is still way too sparse and it's at least as expensive as the other guys despite this. It flopped, and it's hard to see why that state of affairs might turn around any time soon.

If you're primarily productivity driven, e.g. in the enterprise, then you will have limited use for the cheap mobile offerings like iOS that consumers find so appealing. On the other hand, you're probably not long from having rolled out Win7 and it's quite difficult to see where Win8 gives added benefit except in very narrow niches. The UI is not especially well suited for non-touch systems, and touch-based systems are a couple of hundred dollars more expensive than non-touch with no real benefit.

Corporate doesn't need that stuff, and consumers have less expensive offerings that they're buying hand over fist. Where's the draw?

I too think the one-size-fits-all attitude is very costly. Either you get balky interfaces that don't necessarily fit the form factorm like those tiny little start menus on WinMob, or you get so much legacy bulk in the OS that it needs too much hardware to be competitive. Or, in the case of Win8, both.

Balmer should be crucified for this. It's his fault Microsoft didn't have a competitor in the tablet space more or less concurrent with the iPad. Courier may not have been Windows, but it would certainly have been interesting and out there before iOS had a crippling advantage in the market. Today? Good luck with that, you're gonna need it.
Bob Gill
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Bob Gill,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/15/2013 | 1:47:20 AM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
Geez. We still haven't completed the 500 desktop rollout of Win7 - purging XP. No matter how great Win8 is, we won't even be looking at it until it's 12 months old.

We might bring in a Win8 tablet or two to play with, but that's it for the first 12 months of Win8.
AsokAsus
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AsokAsus,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/14/2013 | 8:45:41 PM
re: Are Businesses Waiting For Windows 9?
"It's important to point out, though, that Microsoft's leaders surely foresaw weak enterprise sales when they devised their Windows 8 strategy."

I think that is an entirely unfounded assumption and the probability of that being true is less than 50%. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine WHAT Microsoft was thinking when they decided that the cell-phone-like Metro UI with only a single possible full-screen window at a time for ALL applications would be the primary, non-skippable UI for ALL computing devices, including, for goodness sake, Server 2012!

My guess is that the company is being run by old farts who pretend like they're hip by letting run amuck a pack of 25-somethings who've never done anything in their lives except for text, tweet and talk, and they think that's all anybody else does too. As to what Microsoft thinks about adoption of this garbage by the enterprise, it's obvious they totally ignored the advice of the tens of thousands of advance testers and analysts, and my guess is they figure they have a monopoly in the enterprise and that the enterprise will be quite happy to gobble up whatever crap sandwich Microsoft decides to serve up.

I think Microsoft is going to find out that's not true anymore, which can already be seen in the abysmal slide in sales of PCs that has been accelerated by the Windows 8 disaster. Windows 8 has been such a disaster that the PC vendors have had to turn to try to selling Chromebooks for goodness sakes!
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