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Windows 8: On slow enterprise adoption and productivity improvements

October 29, 2012

Here are some thoughts I’ve posted in various other forums (fora?) regarding Windows 8 adoption.

On why surveys show that enterprise Windows 8 adoption may be lower than Windows 7 (response to Only 33% Want To Shift To Windows 8 Compare To 66% While Windows 7 Release In  2009)

  • Vista was so spectacularly bad that many companies abandoned their “Skip 1” policy and upgraded ASAP from Vista to 7.  These companies would typically be ready to upgrade to Win8, but they’ve already moved.  This is borne out in the “skip-it” survey results.  Users didn’t skip 7 because there was definite pain in staying on Vista. It cost more to support and users were unhappy.
  • Windows 7 is pretty good and has great enterprise manageability and driver support, so companies on 7 (other than companies with pending tablet rollouts) are not feeling any pressure.  There is very little there for enterprise customers to get excited about.
  • The Modern / Desktop dichotomy is going to create support burdens that no one is eager to embrace unless they have to.  Desktop and laptop users aren’t going to see enhanced productivity, and there are no Microsoft Store killer apps that would cause enterprises to want to move as a competitive advantage.

It all adds up to slow enterprise adoption.  But who cares — Windows 8 isn’t an enterprise product.  It is designed to create a grassroots desire for new Windows form factors. And once the devs learn how to create awesome Modern apps and those apps start filling up the store, the consumers will adopt Win8.  And then, like the iPhone, enterprise customers will get dragged along.  This article represents old thinking.

On the features that make Windows 8 attractive:

I’ve been using RTM bits for a couple of weeks now.  If you don’t buy into the Windows 8 interface (the “appification” of the Internet) then there’s very little here to upgrade for. Setup is a little easier, and Hyper-V works better than Virtual PC did, but Windows 7 was a great release and doesn’t feel old.

If you upgrade, it’s because you like the app model. Period. It means you buy into the iPad worldview: the browser is irrelevant and Internet interaction occurs through sandboxes apps.  As a technology enthusiast, I may not like that view, but I can’t deny it’s popularity.

If you’re a computer-savvy user or enthusiast, where’s the productivity improvement for you? It probably doesn’t exist. You’re already productive on Windows.  And, I’m sorry to say, you don’t matter. Windows 8 was designed for the people who find Windows 7 confusing. It’s for my neighbors who ask me how to set up backup, or how to share files with a friend. It’s for my wife, whose entire computing need could be filled with roughly 5 apps (none of which are IE). Those people — the people that rant about throwing their Windows PCs out the window, or that covet the Mac, can potentially be more productive on Windows 8. And they’re the ones buying tablets and phones.

With the PC market down 8% y/y, this is the market that Microsoft needs to be in.

Finally, a great article on the Windows 8 differences: Why Windows 8

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