Microsoft showed its muscle in the tech industry this past week with the much hyped Windows 8 launch. With the appeal to consumers, unit sales are expected to be in the millions. Consumers will buy these beautiful new devices from Microsoft, but we are increasingly certain that business adoption will be slow to jump to the latest OS.
Although Steven Sinofsky said it works equally well on conventional PCs and touch-enabled PCs, it is clearly designed and intended to be used on touch devices, enabling Microsoft to compete with other tablets on the market. It would be foolish and commercially suicidal to expect Microsoft to abandon its own past and make PCs obsolete with this new move in the opening weeks. The fortunate reality is that it works fine on a conventional PC, but it was not intended for a regular PC. It was designed for a new generation of devices that focus on touch.
BYOD and Consumerization of IT have been the hottest topics the past couple years. Microsoft is now firmly “in the game” with the new Surface tablet and Windows 8 will help bring this into the enterprise and to the attention of IT. Will everyone love it so much that CIOs can’t help but refresh the endpoint infrastructure and disregard the huge budgets that they just spent to move to Windows 7? The challenge with this crazed scenario is that it is counter to all of the laws of economics, and even with the rise of Windows 8, it isn’t going to derail current businesses’ plans.
Migration to Windows 8, skip Windows 7?
We can’t ignore the fact that almost half of companies have not yet moved to Windows 7. If everyone who hasn’t yet deployed Windows 7 decides to skip it and move directly to Windows 8, it could really turn things upside down. This could only work if the large user base still on Windows XP moves their OS planning and investment to Windows 8 now, instead of Windows 7.
A remaining question is whether enterprise IT will follow the lead of consumers or will they stay the course? Consumer adoption will be high, but that’s where it will probably remain for the foreseeable future. This could amplify the “piecemeal” approach to OS deployment that already seems to be the norm in IT now. Nothing is preventing people from stopping the departmental or divisional rollouts on Windows 7 and making them start to happen on Windows 8, but hardware has to catch up and that’s at least a year out, but still well within Windows XP end of lifetime.
Only time will tell what will really happen next. Are you ready to jump to Windows 8?