Survey Analysis: Businesses Not as Keen on Moving to Windows 8
Forrester Research is seeing some signs that businesses might be slower to adopt Windows 8 compared with its predecessor.
The signs come from a comparison of two surveys that measured the responses of North American and IT hardware decision-makers. Those Forrester surveys were conducted near the time of the Windows 7 launch in 2009 and the Windows 8 launch in 2012. Respondents telling Forrester that they expected to move to Windows 7 (although they had no specific plans to do so as yet) were fairly high in the first survey, at 49 percent. However, just 24 percent of respondents in the 2012 survey said that they expected to move to Windows 8 (without having specific plans in place).
Windows 8 enthusiasm also seemed dampened when respondents were asked if they had definite plans to move to the new Windows operating system. In the 2009 survey, 10 percent of respondents said they had definite Windows 7 migration plans. However, just five percent of respondents in the 2012 survey said they had such plans for Windows 8.
Forrester researchers have some ideas about why IT decision-makers may be less keen on moving to Windows 8. First, IT pros have already faced an "expensive process" of moving from Windows XP to Windows 7. Second, while Windows 8 offers some security improvements over Windows 7, they aren't sufficient to get organizations motivated. Moreover, the dual-user interface of Windows 8 could entail additional training responsibilities, representing a potential time drain for IT.
Forrester is recommending that companies stick to their Windows 7 migration plans. At the same time, IT should prepare to accommodate bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenarios for employees. Windows 8 is expected by Forrester to encourage the BYOD phenomenon.
The Forrester report, "Windows: The Next Five Years," published last month, contends that in the totality of personal computing devices, Microsoft's operating system market share with Windows has shrunk to about 30 percent. Windows' overall dominance has been displaced by the proliferation of Google Android and Apple iOS computing devices. Still, Windows 8 "will take hold in 2014," the report predicts.
Forrester attributes the slow rise of Windows 8, in part, to the OS' new WinRT platform. Developers have needed a least a year to adjust to Microsoft's platform shift, according to the Windows Report.
Microsoft currently has less than 10,000 Windows 8 apps in the Windows App Store, while Apple leads with 275,000 apps in the Apple Store, according to Forrester. Windows RT machines at this time can only count on having access to 4,000 apps in the Windows App Store, according the research and consulting firm.
Microsoft will still dominate the PC operating system market, but it will take until 2016 for it to gain parity in the personal computing device market with Google and Apple's mobile operating systems, according to the Windows report, which was written by Frank Gillett. Still, a big point of Forrester's Windows study is that OS dominance will be less important in the emerging mobile computing device market. Instead, platform vendors will measure success by selling cloud-based services, where subscriber numbers will be important.
"New metrics will be revenue and profit per user, not device OS share," according to the Windows report.
Gillett explained in his report that Windows RT devices have a number of limitations compared with x86-based Windows 8 systems, although Windows RT products, which run on ARM-based hardware, tend to excel in terms of battery lifespans. However, that advantage might not last so long. Gillett noted that Intel is planning to ship its code-named "Haswell" processors in the summer of 2013. Devices based on Intel's Haswell chips are expected to bring notable power-use improvements, according to Gillett.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.