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Forrester: Windows 8 Faces Roadblocks to Business Adoption

Businesses may be slower to adopt Windows 8 than Windows 7, Forrester Research has concluded.

The research firm compared two surveys -- one conducted around Windows 7's launch in 2009 and another around Windows 8's launch last month -- measuring the responses of North American and IT hardware decision-makers. The first survey yielded a fairly high number of respondents, 49 percent, who said they expected to move to Windows 7 (although they had no specific plans to do so as yet). However, just 24 percent of respondents in the 2012 survey said that they expected to move to Windows 8 (without having specific plans in place).

Windows 8 enthusiasm also seemed dampened when respondents were asked if they had definite plans to move to the new Windows operating system. In the 2009 survey, 10 percent of respondents said they had definite Windows 7 migration plans. However, just five percent of respondents in the 2012 survey said they had such plans for Windows 8.

Forrester researchers have some ideas about why IT decision-makers may be less keen on moving to Windows 8. First, IT pros have already faced an "expensive process" of moving from Windows XP to Windows 7. Second, while Windows 8 offers some security improvements over Windows 7, they aren't sufficient to get organizations motivated. Moreover, the dual-user interface of Windows 8 could entail additional training responsibilities, representing a potential time drain for IT.

Forrester is recommending that companies stick to their Windows 7 migration plans. At the same time, IT should prepare to accommodate bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenarios for employees. Windows 8 is expected by Forrester to encourage the BYOD phenomenon.

The Forrester report, "Windows: The Next Five Years," published last month, contends that in the totality of personal computing devices, Microsoft's operating system market share with Windows has shrunk to about 30 percent. Windows' overall dominance has been displaced by the proliferation of Google Android and Apple iOS computing devices. Still, Windows 8 "will take hold in 2014," the report predicts.

Forrester attributes the slow rise of Windows 8, in part, to the OS' new WinRT platform. Developers have needed a least a year to adjust to Microsoft's platform shift, according to the Windows Report.

Microsoft currently has less than 10,000 Windows 8 apps in the Windows App Store, while Apple leads with 275,000 apps in the Apple Store, according to Forrester. Windows RT machines at this time can only count on having access to 4,000 apps in the Windows App Store, according the research and consulting firm.

Microsoft will still dominate the PC operating system market, but it will take until 2016 for it to gain parity in the personal computing device market with Google and Apple's mobile operating systems, according to the Windows report, which was written by Frank Gillett. Still, a big point of Forrester's Windows study is that OS dominance will be less important in the emerging mobile computing device market. Instead, platform vendors will measure success by selling cloud-based services, where subscriber numbers will be important.

"New metrics will be revenue and profit per user, not device OS share," according to the Windows report.

Gillett explained in his report that Windows RT devices have a number of limitations compared with x86-based Windows 8 systems, although Windows RT products, which run on ARM-based hardware, tend to excel in terms of battery lifespans. However, that advantage might not last so long. Gillett noted that Intel is planning to ship its code-named "Haswell" processors in the summer of 2013. Devices based on Intel's Haswell chips are expected to bring notable power-use improvements, according to Gillett.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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Reader Comments

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 David Monticello,AR

This is for all the crybabies of windows 8. My windows 8 when it boots goes to the desktop just like my windows 7 did. When I'm using my windows 8 I never know it even has a start page unless I want to go there. I also here criticism about all the tiles..Duh..you can remove any or all the tiles from the start screen. You can also Pin ANYTHING you want to the start screen. The best part about windows 8 is the price. I paid less than 20 dollars for my windows 8 pro and I got a free windows media center. It also cost me less than 5 dollars to put the start button back on my windows 8..so I have a total of less than 25 dollars in my windows 8..try buying a version of windows 7 ultimate for that price...lol. So for all you winners just take a few minutes to learn the new operating system and you will find out that it has a lot of NEW great features on it. I can do ANYTHING with my windows 8 that I did with windows 7. If you want to see and learn how to personalize windows 8 the same way you did windows 7 just go to my Blog and find out. http://justaboutwindows.blogspot.com/

Mon, Nov 26, 2012 lallen2064

I think Microsoft has to see Win8 in two different lights. One view as a PC O/S and the other as a device O/S. Based on the long history of Microsoft's PC based O/S Win8 is destined to be a poor PC O/S performer. It is the classical position to be a "skipped" O/S for much of the market. The pattern is pretty clear to see in the past Win98, WinME (skipped), WinXP, Vista (skipped), Win7, Win8(?). The Microsoft O/S cycle is faster than much of the market PC replacement cycle. Surely Microsoft sees this PC O/S pattern. The other view of Win8 is from the Device O/S front such as tablets and phones. This market is very small for MS, but the prospects are big. With Win8, MS at least has an O/S in the race, before Win8 they really did not have much to race with comparatively. At least with Win8 there is an honest prospect - the question is being asked in the market place. That is a big improvement for MS by comparison.

Mon, Nov 26, 2012 Rich

Focus was too much on the touch interface(metro). Great for mobile devices but never wished I had a touch enabled screen at work to do my job. Would like to try one at home but I still favor big and multiple monitors. The lack of options and the cost of a touch enabled screen at home is pricey for what true benefit? I would like to upgrade to get the benefits of a improved OS but the interface is holding me back.

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