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