Are businesses planning to skip Windows 8?

With Windows 8 being available to some Microsoft customers already through MSDN and Volume Licensing, it’s already being suggested that businesses are going to stick with the more familiar and established Windows 7.

Almost everyone knows that Windows 8, from a UI standpoint, is a different beast compared with Windows 95 right through to Windows 7. The Start Button and Menu are officially gone, replaced with the Start Screen. While not overly different, it’s going to be a culture shock for most of the users who are familiar with their current version of Windows.

In a corporate environment, the challenges are going to be different from those faced by normal consumers buying a PC from PC World. Training is going to be a necessity, as with the introduction of the Start Screen; it’s going to be the first time since Windows 95 that users will have to be given guidance on where their applications are located, how to access their printers and devices and even how to change the screen saver or desktop background. Although the desktop is available, most users will still need help in operating the Start Screen.

Adam Noble, chief information officer for GAF in Wayne, NJ has said:

The interface for a tablet is very nice. On a laptop, it’s more difficult to use.

It’s true that the interface is designed to be operated on touch devices, and that using a standard desktop does not pose many problems in navigating the Start Screen with a keyboard and mouse, but what side of the fence would laptop users sit? A touchpad or nipple mouse is sometimes awkward and slow to use compared with a standard mouse in Windows, so what’s the experience like in Windows 8? Will speed and productivity be compromised for what some businesses see as simple aesthetics? Mobile users are going to be the most affected by the interface. So how does a company get round that?

Peter Hendel, associate director of the global business services arm of Proctor and Gamble has one idea:

We believe today as a tablet, the iPad gives us a strong combination of functionality, security and price.

Proctor and Gamble already have over 5,000 iPads in use among its sales people, executives and mobile workforce. It’s this trend that’s seeing the tablet, or more specifically, the iPad being adopted by companies instead of a Windows based PC. Also, with companies adopting a more relaxed attitude to the ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) strategy, some users are present their IT departments with iPads and Android tablets, asking them can they use these instead.

Apple's iWork indicating the iPad is ready for the corporate world

Forrester Research surveyed a number of companies and found that about one third planned to adopt Windows 8 eventually, while 57% either haven’t considered it or plan to skip it altogether. Windows 7 was different in that two thirds of companies in 2009 planned to adopt eventually and only 28% either hadn’t considered it or planned to skip it altogether. Is Windows 8 going to suffer the same fate as Vista?

Companies weren’t taken with Vista either. It was notoriously incompatible with older hardware and software, with even some new hardware not having correct drivers. Performance wasn’t great either. This put companies off. But Windows 7 was what Vista should have been, so spending thousands (or in some cases millions) of dollars upgrading software to operate with Windows 7, factoring in the performance gains over Vista, and the security improvements over Windows XP was something that pushed the adoption rate of the OS up. Would companies be willing to spend the money again to get application compatibility?

VMware’s vSphere client doesn’t work under Windows 8 and Citrix Receiver is hit or miss, both most likely due to Internet Explorer 10. Those are two major pieces of software that businesses and their IT staff will rely on to do their jobs. But then the responsibility to update the software lies with Citrix and VMware, not Microsoft. They have no doubt been aware of the compatibility issues in Windows 8, but you have to wonder why they haven’t been updated yet.

But with all the negativity surrounding the OS, it’s not without its fans. Joe Simon, chief technical officer of Advance Publications Inc.'s Condé Nast (New York publisher of Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines) is a fan.

I think it's the best operating system we've seen out of Microsoft for a long time.

To save on costs, Condé Nast stuck with XP for most of its 3000 user base, but according to Simon they plan to migrate to Windows 8 “as soon as possible”. The company have around 5,000 iPads in use and Simon has said that he is “agnostic” about whether to switch the iPad users to Windows tablets.

But Microsoft are certain that the initial resistance can be overcome and that the benefits Windows 8 bring are worth the learning curve. Erwin Visser, senior director of the team who oversee Windows for the corporate environments has said:

We're confident about the value we can deliver.

The Lenovo Twist, a Windows 8 laptop/tablet hybrid

The real benefit to Microsoft will be the holiday season. With the Surface pre-orders selling out quickly and PCs, laptops, hybrids and tablets going on sale on the 26th October, most people who get a new computer from Samsung, Dell or Lenovo (desktop or mobile) for Christmas are likely to get Windows 8. With those sales, Microsoft can only hope that a positive user experience at home will help persuade employers to adopt the OS sooner rather than later.

Source: WSJ | Images courtesy of Microsoft, Windows Blog, Apple and Lenovo

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Are people Forgetting Educational Institutes.

We are already planning on moving our entire County (16th largest in the nation over 75,000 computer/laptops, etc) to Windows 8 next school year. From communication with other counties, many are looking to move to Windows 8 as well.

Windows 8 brings huge benifits to a Teacher. The ability to be completly Mobile in the Classroom.... Think about it.

Also think about what the Surface Pro brings to the table for the student/teacher relation.

We must move forward and not step back.....

Agree totally. I worked in a college and as an organisation, theywere early adopters. We as IT staff used Windows 7 in production from the RC release. As soon as the RTM hit, WDS was setup to rollout the images to the desktops rather than using Ghost. I can only imagine that come September next year, they will be seriously considering the rollout of Windows 8 to all PC's.

We have sent a memo over to our biggest clients letting them know we wont be upgrading anyone to the new Windows 8 and they will be sticking with Windows 7 / XP for a few years yet.

I am glad Windows 7 will be purchasable still once 8 is released aswell

Windows XP still does the job perfectly (at work) in my case. I will upgrade to Windows 7 when Microsoft stop long term support (for XP).

AeroSnap in XP is provided by Nurgo Software's AquaSnap. The Windows Classic theme never looks old!

68k said,
Windows XP still does the job perfectly (at work) in my case. I will upgrade to Windows 7 when Microsoft stop long term support (for XP).

AeroSnap in XP is provided by Nurgo Software's AquaSnap. The Windows Classic theme never looks old!

Yeah my SSD just died and I switched over to my old Athlon 2500+, 1gb DDR, ABIT NF7-S mobo, and a Geforce 2 MX200 with XP Pro on it. I had to strap it down because I thought it was going to fly off. It's funny because I don't remember it being this fast. It's great for just browsing the web and listening to foobar. I really miss my gaming rig tho. I hope OCZ hurries up with RMA.

If you really want to have some fun with XP, check out Stardock WindowFX. You can have wobbly compiz-like windows. It's really cool.

I think there will be a new generation of low-cost desktop (business) computers based on the ARM architecture soon. Even a Raspberry Pi will do for some businesses (running Linux (with internet/email/printing/scanning/etc.) and LibreOffice).

Depends on the business really. The first IT job I had we waited until 2004 to upgrade from Windows NT to XP. At my current job, we upgraded to Windows 7 last year. If businesses are on XP, they may move to 8; it just depends on if it's financially and security feasible and if it's compatible with the business software. At Kroll Ontrack, it took us a long time before we upgraded due to our in-house tools only working in XP.

I also do not agree it's more difficult to use on a laptop. Due to GP and custom images, we just put the common shortcuts on the desktop. It wouldn't be different with Windows 8.

Why is the author calling the Lenovo in the picture:
"The Lenovo Twist, a Windows 8 laptop/tablet hybrid"?
Convertibles were, together with Slate, one the two configurations available when the original Tablets were launched; just because the iPad is a Slate it does not mean that any other configuration is a "Hybrid", it is just a PC Tablet.... and what I will buy to replace my ancient Toshiba Portege' 400.

What a pointless article. Most businesses have barely upgraded to/deployed Windows 7. It has nothing to do with Win8 at all.

Well, the question was are businesses planning on skipping Windows 8. Ah, Yes. I will not be upgrading any of our machines now or in the near future. Could that change come this time next summer/fall? Sure.

But there is no way I am going to introduce such a huge change to the daily workflow in our insurance office.

It depends. Right now Windows 8 do not have a chance against windows 7 if it is going to be used as desktop os.
Business will only consider windows 8 if it is used as touch and tablet, and only if it can replace ipad for some reasons.
Windows 8 is too expensive, because of the new learning curve, and because of the small amount of apps available.

Although they won't come out and say it, I'm sure Microsoft are more than happy with the adoption rate of Windows 7 is the corporate environment. As much as Windows 8 does move enterprise computing forward with new features, it is very much a consumer oriented O/S designed to win back people/attention from Apple. In the enterprise space, the emphasis will be on ensuring that Windows 8/RT devices meet the criteria for satisfying BYOD strategies better than the competition. Microsoft will be much more interested in selling Office 2013/365 to enterprises anyway, even if they are running those products on Windows 7.

my company just migrated most PC to 7. still left a few hundred PC which they will migrate in a couple of months. skipping w8

Most companies SHOULD skip Win 8 and get on Win 7 just to get the F&ck off XP.

Then, as their workers in the field begin to depend on doing inventory, and all kinds of field work with touch screens on Win 8 tablets, the benefits of having Win 8 AND the ability to go back and forth will begin to hit them in the face with extreme clarity.

No need to force it on them yet, the force will be with them soon enough.

HP started to test windows 8 like a month ago after the VL was available , so they started to test windows 8 in a corporate environment and so far 3K employees are testing windows 8 right now according to the SharePoint log , I was one of the lucky ones to get the invitation to the early adopter program and I have almost one month with the final version of w8 in my computer and I can tell you that it is really boosting my productivity because of many reasons , so HP should start rolling windows 8 to the rest of the employees somewhere between jan or feb .

The notion that the user population within a mid to large sized company can persuade IT or ask for an operating system upgrade “because I use it at home” is generally not true. The decision to deploy any new OS or application is based on a large number of business drivers, the least of which are things like, “It's new!”, or “It's cool!”. As an IT pro that has gone through the move from XP to Win7, it took six months of planning and a year of testing and rollout to ensure our deployment worked with the 300+ applications maintained on top of the OS for various groups. (That is not even beginning to address the various servers and applications that must be updated within the data center to support the end-user desktop experience.) Windows 8 does not have any real business driver at this point, and will likely be short lived until a Windows 9 launches. The “dual-personality” UI will need to evolve and incorporate features that make it productive for the majority of the keyboard and mouse users. Tablets are fine for certain niche purposes, however most business is still performed using traditional keyboards and mice.

Your perspective is lost on many people and punsits anticipating this "post pc" era. Post PC for consumers possibly, but certainly not for reality and the workforce in general.

Where I work we don't really have a set OS. However I know that even with our Partnership Membership, we will only use Windows 8 for user support (Virtual Machines), and not as a daily-driver. We are all pretty much running Windows 7, and in talking to my bosses they see no need for anyone here to use 8 outside of checking to ensure software updates don't cause incompatibilities.

I think I am the only one who has 8 installed here, but I don't boot into it unless I make a major software change and I need to verify that it works across versions of windows.

I know I won't be rolling out windows 8 in my organisation, its too big a difference to even considering rolling out. We'll be sticking with Windows 7 for many years to come. Windows 7 will be the new XP for now.

We are still in the process or the windows 7 update.... so windows 8 is the skip one for us, only if we buy new hardware (aka tablets) will we have windows 8 in our org outside of test environments (VM's for software build testing)

I started deploying 7-64 this year. We've rolled out about 200 machines -still another 300 to go. The only 8 I plan to consider will be Surface machines in an effort to dump iPads. I want to give iPad users (execs) Full office, access to network shares and printers. Plus some apps like acrobat and whatever else happens to work. That should make them quite happy -assuming battery life is the same or not much worse.
PCs are LONG from dead in the corporate world. 8 looks like a consumer product -not ready for most corporate apps... the apps are not ready for it either.

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