Microsoft expects rapid Australian adoption of Windows 10


news Microsoft this week said it expects Australian organisations to deploy its new operating system Windows 10 quite rapidly, on the basis of independent research showing that almost two in three local groups expect to adopt Windows 10 within the first 12 months of its release.

Windows 10 was formally released to all customers globally last week. It departs from Microsoft’s previous operating system Windows 8 in that it features a more traditional desktop paradigm by default, but it also includes a large number of new features such as support for ‘universal’ applications that can run across multiple platforms, from PCs to tablets and smartphones, a brand new web browser named ‘Edge’, and support for fingerprint and face recognition login. Enterprise customers will welcome enhanced security and manageability features.

The release has been praised by reviewers, with most noting that Windows 10 features a more mature implementation of a number of new features introduced in Windows 8.

The consensus appears to be that Windows 10 represents the ‘stable’ part of Microsoft’s operating system release cycle — in which every second major release has found favour. For example, many individuals and organisations declined to upgrade their Windows XP installations to its successor Windows Vista, instead waiting for the next Windows 7 release. Many then ignored the next Windows 8 release.

“Windows has a cycle. Windows XP saved us from Windows ME, Windows 7 saved us from the Windows Vista mess, now Windows 10 is here to save save us from Windows 8,” Tom Warren wrote in his largely positive review of Windows 10 for The Verge. “It’s nice to be on the good part of the cycle.”

To examine customer interest in Windows 10 in Australia, Microsoft commissioned Tech Research Asia to poll some 301 business decision-makers around the country in businesses with between five and one thousand employees.

The research found that about 23 percent intended to upgrade to Windows 10 within six months after the platform’s release, a further 17 percent within seven to nine months, and about 25 percent within ten to twelve months. Another 10 percent believed they would upgrade to Windows 10 in the second year after the platform’s release.

Productivity, improvements, improved security and mobile and PC integration were viewed as being among the top five reasons for adoption, with 75 percent of those surveyed citing the ability of Windows 10 to work across all mobile devices as being important. The majority of organisations surveyed viewed Windows 10 as being a better operating system, compared with both Windows 7 and 8.1.

“This research shows there is a real appetite for change and innovation amongst businesses in Australia, with many indicating that the Windows 10 system provides a strong platform on which to deliver productivity improvement solutions in the future,” said TRA director Tim Dillon.“We also believe that the familiarity of Windows helps makes upgrading so much more palatable for companies.”

Microsoft Australia Windows Commercial Lead, Jaron Cohen said: “It is great to see such strong demand for Windows 10 from a number of Australian businesses. Windows 10 was largely built by the people who will use it and through the Insiders program we had more than 5 million customers around the world help us design the operating system.” 

There wasn’t a massive disparity in terms of which sectors or size of organisations intended to deploy Windows 10, although traditionally some sectors — such as government — have been slower to upgrade to new platforms.

Cohen said the vast majority of those upgrading to Windows 10 would be currently running Windows 7 — about two thirds, with the rest mainly being those on Windows 8. A small number of upgraders — about five percent — would be upgrading from Microsoft’s legacy operating system Windows XP.

I haven’t played with it myself yet — I mainly run Mac OS X these days, although I do still keep a few Windows 7 virtual machines around, as well as a Windows 7 media centre — but all the comment I’ve seen on Windows 10 tends to agree that it’s a very stable and mature operating system that’s worth upgrading to from any of Microsoft’s previous platforms.

I personally suspect this is going to be the last major Windows version which Microsoft releases for some time — as the company itself has stated, Windows 10 is “the last version of Windows”, with updates to be delivered incrementally from here on in. It will probably take a major change in the PC computing platform before the company decides to release a formal new version of Windows.

Because of this, I suspect it’s going to be a good idea for Australian organisations to jump on the Windows 10 train earlier rather than later. Get in early, start receiving the benefits early, and then stabilise earlier — for the long term, and not expecting a new release in another three years that your organisation will have to consider.

Of course, it must also be said that there isn’t a whole lot wrong with Microsoft’s previous release, Windows 7, which remains popular in virtually every major organisation in Australia, as well as most of the small businesses which aren’t using Apple devices or still stuck on Windows XP. And if something ain’t broke …

Image credit: Microsoft


  1. Although windows itself is pretty stable, there’s still a few issues with drivers from 3rd parties here and there. I think it would be best to wait for ~3-6 months for the various drivers the be updated.

    Also if this is the last version of windows, there’s no hurry for companies to upgrade. If anything this gives companies confidence that when they do upgrade to windows 10, it will be supported for a long time. They know they can wait until they are ready as they dont have to worry about a major new version of windows coming out in a few years.

    • Unfortunately there is little chance of driver updates for legacy hardware from vendors. Windows 10 supports a heck of a lot out of the box, to minimise this critical pain point – they’ve done a lot more development and collaboration with vendors to get Win10 shipping with built in drivers than ever before. But there’s no changing the fact that some hardware is too old, too uncommon or lacks crucial features. For example, the WiFi card in one of my laptops doesn’t work with 8, 8.1 or Win10, and if you try to replace it you brick the device until you remove the replacement card. Thanks, HP. There’s a Realtek chip used for a huge number of workstations and server boards until 2013 that is incompatible with 2012 or Win8.1+, forcing users to add a PCI-Ex card (which, to be honest, is just a good excuse to get an Intel card anyway).

      So if you’re holding out waiting for legacy devices to have new Win10 drivers published, you will probably be out of luck if the device isn’t less than two years old. If you don’t have drivers already, contact the manufacturer to see if they have plans for this and put yourself out of your misery ;-)

  2. The big thing Win10 gives you by upgrading is support going forward. But to be honest, by the time Win7 support ends you will probably have upgraded or replaced that hardware years prior.

    We’ve already tested Win10 operation in domain environments, including profile sync across Win7, Win8.1 and Win10 and have discovered no issues – everything works as it should, all policies are applied correctly, legacy applications appear to work fine as do automatic print drivers pushed from the server. So from our perspective Win10 already looks reliable and stable, but we won’t be actively deploying it before the official Enterprise launch update in October. I’m happy to give new devices joining domains with Win10 the tick of approval, though.

    Our advice to management for existing devices, though, will be that upgrades will have to be tested on each model prior to deployment, which might be a costly proposition. But there’s no point upgrading to an OS that causes hardware to stop functioning. Otherwise we can leave things as they are and allow upgrades to occur as PCs are replaced over the next few years. Windows 7 is perfectly functional – there is no significant benefit for users to be had upgrading to Win10 on those machines. And even though the upgrade is free, technical evaluation and support is not.

    So I have no issues with Win10 and can happily attest that it works fine for everything we’ve thrown at it. But that doesn’t mean upgrading is the right decision for everyone, particularly those running hardware that’s three or more years old. I recommend cloning your HDD/SSD and upgrading the clone for evaluation purposes, rather than jumping in with both feet – yes, Win10 can be rolled back for a month after you’ve upgraded, but if that hiccups and your OS is trashed through some unpredictable glitch, it is no sweat if you’re testing with a cloned drive, but a massive headache if it’s the only copy of your drive.

    For business decision makers I recommend considering the cost of technical staff following the same process just discussed. Such a thorough evaluation can quickly blow out to be far more than the cost of a full license of Windows per machine. It starts to make sense if your business buys PCs in batches, though – you can test one machine and qualify hundreds of workstations.

    But if there’s no compelling need to upgrade to Win10 on existing (particularly older) machines, I’m not convinced it is an efficient use of time or money. Entirely possible that evaluation may change over the next twelve months though – Microsoft are planning some significant changes, so it will be interesting to see what additional value they add.

  3. Microsoft don’t have the best reputation for knowing what people want. Windows 8 was supposed to be a huge success too, and likewise Microsoft said their “telemetry” told them no one was using the start menu.

    I can’t see windows 10 going anywhere fast.

    • Win8 was Ballmer’s hubris, a man with far too much ego given far too much power. Tech companies should be run by people with a deep technical understanding and extensive experience with end user design collaboration. Win8 is what you get when you empower someone who has infinite belief in themselves, is dictatorial and non-collaborative. He paid for his error with his career and the board with their depressed share price. Nadella is like Ballmer’s binary opposite – he is humble yet extremely competent and much revered. Win10 has little of his personal stamp, being far more of a collaborative effort between extensive user feedback and competing demands from various divisions within Microsoft. As a balance it will never be perfect for anyone, but it will have much broader general appeal than something designed for one man.

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