Windows 8 Uptake Lagging--or Gaining Traction?
Online figures for Windows 8 usage in 2012 show that it is lagging far behind Windows 7. At the outset it lagged even behind Vista. But the same data also hint that the latest version of Microsoft Windows might be starting to draw user support.
Trying to gauge the lifecycle prospects of a Windows release so early on is uncertain at best. For one thing, dramatic changes in the economic climate make it hard to establish an apples-to-apples--well, oranges-to-oranges--comparison between releases. The IT community at midsize firms, however, has large stakes in how a new version of Windows fares in the marketplace. Thus the examination of early trends will itself shape the ongoing market response.
As Gregg Keizer reports at Computerworld, the final 2012 uptake figures are out for Windows 8. At face value, these figures are not good news for Microsoft. The early uptake trend for the latest version has been distinctly more modest than for its predecessor, Windows 7.
Indeed, the early performance even lags behind Windows Vista. For Redmond that is something of a negative benchmark, possibly the worst failure in the history of Windows development. On the other hand, there are subtle but important hints of a more positive trend in the last week of the year.
Evaluating these early sales trends is complicated by the economic background. Vista came out in 2007, just before an economic crash. Windows 7 came out in 2009, facing an economy in deep recession. The new release comes amid a still-fragile recovery.
The Windows adoption rhythm also complicates the picture. Vista came out five years after Windows XP, a popular release starting to grow long in the tooth. The current release comes out three years after Windows 7--regarded by many as the best Windows release ever.
Fate of a Revolution?
Vista was supposed to offer numerous enhancements, most of which fell flat. (Many observers, however, would call Windows 7 "Vista done right.") Windows 8 is even more radical compared to earlier releases. It has not drawn the sort of negative reviews that Vista soon did. On the other hand, reactions to its touch-centric user interface (UI) remain guarded.
All of which leaves IT managers at midsize firms facing some tough decisions. Do they stick with tried and true Windows 7? (Or upgrade to it, if their company is still using WinXP, as many are?) Or do they take the leap that Microsoft is asking them to make?
Both Microsoft's prospects, and the look of the IT workplace over the next few years, could depend heavily on what IT managers decide in the next few months.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.