Enterprise will hold back on Windows 8


blog I recently came across a fantastic series of posts which pretty much sums up what I think about Microsoft’s incoming new operating system Windows 8. By Gartner research director Gunnar Berger, the series goes into a whole bunch of issues with respect to Windows 8 as the analyst attempts the tricky task of coming up with a comprehensive opinion on the matter. With respect to Windows 8 adoption in the enterprise, this paragraph from Berger, in his post about businesses adopting Windows 8, really nailed it for me:

“We recently did a large field research study and specifically asked all of our interviewees if they were looking at Windows 8, most laughed. The fact is most enterprises are still trying to get to Windows 7 and few enterprises are ready for Windows 8. I believe that after the lessons of Windows ME and Windows Vista many enterprises will wait on Windows 8 to see how it works out. I also think Microsoft knows this and is using this to their advantage (and I applaud them for it). If enterprises aren’t going to be breathing down their necks on this OS then they have some flexibility to build an OS that is more geared for the consumer and thus they can work on winning back that market, and believe it or not Microsoft cares a lot about the consumer market.”

In other words, Windows 8 is primarily a consumer-focused operating system and most enterprises will hold off on adopting it for now, as the gradual migration to Windows XP’s true successor Windows 7 keeps rolling on. I personally feel Windows 8 may make most of its first appearances in the enterprise through tablets as IT department-sponsored iPad replacements, not through desktop PCs. Berger’s comments are particularly applicable in Australia as most enterprises all around Australia are still conducting their Windows 7 migrations — or, if they have already been conducted, would be likely to see very little reason to upgrade to Windows 8. The cost and extensive user training will be hard to justify, given the radical user interface overhaul Windows 8 features, and I’m sure more than a few corporate apps will break as well along the way.

What do you think? Is Windows 8 going to be adopted in Australian enterprises? Or will most ignore it, as they did Windows Vista?

Image credit: Microsoft


  1. my guess is it will be largely ignored by a lot of enterprises. windows 8 is consumer driver, not business driven.

    the OS release after windows 8 is more likely to be installed by business (depending on how it looks and performs)…

    • I know where I am this we aren’t even at that point yet (~12k users) – we are just going through Win7 POC now. Probably 6-12 months away from a proper rollout. No way we’d even be thinking about Windows 8 in the foreseeable future.

  2. Its the age old problem.. It costs money to upgrade a whole slew of PCs.. What are the benefits? When will the cost of the investment be repaid?
    We used to see large advancements in updating server software, consolidation of functions, dispersal of new software releases being faster and easier.. Not anymore..
    Come to think of it, have seen the same with PCs, notebooks, and now mobile phones.. Does it really matter if you’re running Gingerbread or Jelly Bean? Same for Windows 7 and Windows 8..
    Not enough to differentiate in terms of true new functionality and no way to gain the cost back..

    • Yep. I know of at least one large Qld government department which is already evaluating Windows 8 for use on tablets (primarily for gathering data in the field). The same department is still a long way from deploying Windows 7 on the desktop, never mind 8.

  3. There is a missing step between Windows 7 and Windows 8, so whilst I understand why they are going the way they are going, I couldn’t and won’t in good conscience push my company into adopting a product that not only has many new elements to learn, but actively reduces previous functionality.

    The Stupid thing is, I could actually have seen this work, if they hadn’t of been all “No Compromise”.
    The front Metro screen would have been fine for those users who really only use a couple of applications, and who are used to the “Application” concept of smartphones.
    The other users could simply have gone straight into the Desktop application, and would have been none the wiser. Then gradually learnt how to do it elsewhere.

    By the time Windows 9 rolled out they would have been much more comfortable with the changes.

    I personally won’t use it either. The little I have used the various previous give me 0 benefit over Win7.

  4. What I am wondering is, how soon will Microsoft stop supporting Windows 7? (I understand that XP isn’t supported any more – what about Vista?)

    Is that a trigger for enterprises to update to the next generation OS or not really ?

  5. It’ll depend on what stage of the asset cycle a corporate’s PC fleet’s at. If most of your fleet is due to be turned over say Q2/Q3 2013 why wouldn’t you just replace them with Surface?

    They’ll be :
    – Cheeper
    – Will be a tablet (hush you iPad huggers with MBA’s in Marketing)
    – Will be easy to “rollout” Win8
    – Will reuse all the data encryption, device management and identity tools (presumably)
    – Will promote a more “mobile” work force

    Lets face it, most office worker use a poofteenth of the power of their PC’s so a Surface connected to screen,keybaord and mouse will do them. Specialists like Dev’s and Graphic Designers will probs stick to a desk top.

    So unless iPads (a consumer device) make deep in roads in the corporates they’ll start to have to compete with the Surface (another consumer device) in that space.

    The possible plus for MS is that increasing Surface adoption by corporates will have a flow on effect into consumer sales proper for the same reasons it pushed PC sales in the early days: Familiarity. MS also offers employees of corporates VERY cheap pricing for MS Office products.

    That’s my 2 bob’s worth anyways.

  6. No corporates will upgrade to Windows, and not just because they’ve just finished (or maybe haven’t even started yet) upgrades to Windows 7. They won’t touch Windows 8 because, out of the box, it’s pretty well unusable.

    At least, it’s unusable without a day’s training course, which corporates won’t pay for because they won’t see what the ROI is on that. (Maybe because there isn’t any.) As Leo Laporte said, Microsoft is about to guarantee that Windows 7 won’t go end of life before the year 2025 (by releasing Windows 8).

    The thing is, for all the talk about Windows 8 being a “consumer release”, it’s going to die a horrible death there too. Joe and Jane Public will run screaming from Harvey and JB, after 30 seconds of trying to find their way around Windows 8’s dreadful Metro screen. After a short time, those retailers will no longer promote Windows 8 as their main PC OS. Expect to see “free, downgrade to Windows 7″ billboards outside the stores. They’ll be competing with each other to be the store that helps you avoid Windows 8 the most. Really, it”s going to be that bad; Vista behaved like a normal operating system until you got it home, at least

    As for Surface, don’t make me piss. The product is pure vapour. At this point, we don’t know:

    – availability
    – cost
    – screen resolution
    – battery life

    Little things like that.

    We do know that the arm version, Windows RT, won’t be able to join a Microsoft network. So kiss that little bit of “compatibility” goodbye.

    Nobody outside of Microsoft has been allowed to hold a working Surface. One journalist that tried it at the launch event had the device rudely yanked out of his hands by the Microsoft Bouncer. He tried to access the resolution settings (so he could see what it was). The only time anybody has even *seen* a Surface device in operation, it froze.

    Harvey/JB’s must truly be releasing the prospect of trying to sell such a device – two devices, actually. One’s called “Windows”, but doesn’t run any Windows software. The other *does* run your Windows software, but weighs a ton and the battery lasts 3 hours (as long as you don’t use it).

    • “Nobody outside of Microsoft has been allowed to hold a working Surface.”

      I’m assuming that would include you so I can’t see how you can make claims about it’s usability and the requirement regarding training etc.

      I do take your points about availability etc and I think it’s reasonable to assume that by the middle of the next they would all considered reasonable to to good (but maybe not excellent) with the biggest draw back most likely be be cost

      I just can’t see MS doing a vapourware job on this, there’s too much face to be lost they’ve got the cash and time to do the usability testing anyway.

      It’s fair to say that MS have definitely piqued people’s interest. A die hard card carrying Apple Fan mate of mine (Power Mac, PowerBook, dual Cinema Screens, iPad2 and iPhone 4S the whole kit and kaboodle) said he was interested in getting a Surface (depending of course on what it’s really like).

      So yeah, it could be a flash in the pan. We’ll know for sure in 6 – 8 months.

      • My point about training was referring to the desktop. I don’t mention Surface until two paragraphs later.

    • PS: Vis RT and compatibility … sure, RT will be baked in the the cheaper consumer devices, but RT is not what the corporates will get.

      • Have to be careful about context but I kept thinking Windows Key! TBH when I first saw the Metro UI I couldn’t see it flying as a desktop UI. But we’re not talking about Desktops we’re talking about Surface and the probability that it’s how Win8 will get introduced into the corporate environment.

        • Renai’s article was primarily about “Windows 8 adoption in the enterprise”, i.e. on the desktop. Surface is only brought in near the end.

          So these videos are totally relevant.

  7. Actually what that Gartner guy is saying is more nuanced than that. He’s saying that Microsoft is aiming Windows 8 at consumers as a way to capture the move to consumerisation in enterprises, and thus to head off Apple at the pass.

    His reservations about enterprise adoption relate to the contradiction between the marketing to enterpises and what he sees as Microsoft’s real strategy. It’s not a big deal really.

    I actually think Windows 8 will be extremely strong in the enterprise, after the usual 3-year lag.It has many features that are lovely for presenting information to staffers. And Windows Phone 8 will develop its own momentum. It will be like the rise of SQL Server taking over from Sybase.

  8. I’m currently trialling Win8 at home and in some ways I’m happy with it but in others I’m not.
    I don’t see it as a big learning curve (but then I work in IT). The differences between Win 7 and 8 are no larger than XP to Win7 (I skipped Vista), and arguably smaller.
    There’s an initial adverse reaction just because it’s unfamiliar but you can quickly come to terms with it.
    What I like about it? It’s faster to start up and to shut down.
    Other than that it’s much the same.
    What I don’t like? Primarily the way everything underneath is hidden away. But that’s probably a good thing for your average user.

    That said I don’t expect businesses will be too keen to upgrade.
    I wouldn’t bother pushing it in my workplace.
    There’s no obvious benefit to upgrading, there is a learning curve, and it’s new – it hasn’t had a chance to prove itself like Win7.
    As always there’ll be some early adopters, tablets will probably see more benefits from it. Other than that I think business will still be on 7 when 9 is getting ready. Then they’ll make a decision on 8 vs 9.
    Maybe the “App”s will become important, I somehow doubt that.

  9. I think this is a pretty good sum up.

    Apple have dominated the consumer market in recent years and I think we’re seeing the warpath emerge for Microsoft in the consumer market in Win 8.

    While Enterprise is a massively important and pivotal sector for Microsoft….they already own it with XP and now Win 7 for workstations and Server for Enterprise solutions. As long as they continue support for Win 7 for several years at least, well beyond Win 9, I see them gouging back a chunk of the consumer market from Apple with Win 8 AND maintaining their Enterprise lead IF they manage things properly.

    It’s gonna be an interesting few years :D

  10. Interesting = consumer driven testing.
    Windows 8 seems a drastic depart from the traditional Microsoft fan base. It might just end up that it will dissatisfy nearly everyone except maybe tablets.
    From a consumer perspective I’m not going to touch it.
    From a developer perspective… I’m going to dual boot Win 8.

  11. I’ve said it before in a related article – Win8 will be a win on tablets and a massive great fail on the desktop. How that will play out for Microsoft across the board, given Win7 will still be there to pick up the pieces (unless MS pull something as stupid as they tried with Vista, stopping availability of XP) I think this cycle will be broadly be profitable for them, but they are going to continue to cop a lot of criticism for not jus Win8, but their arrogant hubris when it comes to re imagining what desktop computing productivity means and forcing those nightmares upon the marketplace.

    What Microsoft should have done was build the best touch interface tablet OS they could and quietly work on improving & updating desktop Windows with truly beneficial features that provide obvious and compelling advantages. They were really not going to do themselves any damage waiting another year or even two before replacing Win7 – it is their best OS and has been well received because if it.

    Microsoft’s obsession with tying lots of products up into inseparable packages is a huge problem for them – what’s wrong with separate product areas that remain functionally separate? Why can’t the browser be functionally separate from the OS? Why does your cloud service need to tie in email and messaging with storage, and why do I lose access to everything in accounts I’ve had for years if I accidentally breach your content policy on private files I’ve backed up to skydive (that you only know I’ve breached because you have people trolling through everyone’s private files…)? Why do tablets and desktops have to share the same OS when the way we use and interact with them is likely to remain quite different for the foreseeable future?

    I’m interested in Surface, I’m interested in Win8 on tablets and smartphones. I’m not interested in Win8 on the desktop, because it’s inferior to Windows 7 IMHO. I’m not interested in Skydive because you have no right to be looking at my files, and the fact that you’re doing this is a huge black mark against the trustworthiness of your brand. I am cautious about Office 2013 because on the one hand it brings some excellent features, but the tie-in with Skydive & the MS cloud has me concerned.. Just make good products & stop trying to control #@*c#*$ everything (like Apple) and you might actually find consumers start, you know, trusting you, instead of hating you. Just a thought.

Comments are closed.