Since Microsoft released Windows 8 last fall, we have seen marketing campaigns and quarterly reports leading us to believe that it is a huge hit. Even if we take Microsoft’s word for it in the tablet and home user market, Windows 8 is nearly non-existent in the business market based on our experience.
According to analytics company NetApplications, Windows 8 has only about a 2% share of the desktop operating system market. Windows 7, however, commands a 45% share. In fact, Microsoft is proud to say that Windows 7 is used on more than 60% of enterprise desktops, which is much more consistent with what we are seeing with our clients. There are very few companies that are even inquiring about Windows 8 migration.
So why is the Windows 8 adoption rate much lower than its predecessors? One reason is the lack of touch hardware devices in the workplace. Much of Windows 8’s new functionality centers around the use of touchscreen devices, while the lion’s share of enterprise hardware is non-touch. If you have not tried it, using Windows 8 with only a mouse can make for an unproductive experience.
Another large hurdle is the fact that there is a larger learning curve for users new to Windows 8. The previous versions of Windows all showcased incremental improvements to the user interface and did it in a way that existing users did not feel lost when making the switch. Windows 8 is a disruptive experience for new users and those familiar with the user interfaces found in Windows XP or Windows 7.
However, all is not lost when it comes to Windows 8. In the next one to two years, most of the machines still running Windows XP will need to be upgraded or replaced with a newer operating system. As these machines begin to be replaced, we may see an uptick of Windows 8 in the workplace. In addition, the adoption rate may increase as consumers become more familiar with Windows 8 as a whole. Instead of carrying both a laptop and tablet, business users may start to replace them with a single, hybrid Windows 8 device.
Before making any decision about the state of your business’s IT infrastructure, we at Minneapolis-based OAC Technology recommend that you confer with an IT professional to make sure you’re making a decision that’s right for your business. We offer IT and Network Support to small- and medium-sized businesses with one goal in mind: Make IT work.