Why I think businesses will ignore Windows 8

Let’s get one thing straight from the beginning; I’m no Microsoft hater. I’ve designed networks around Windows for many years and happily supported them. I have many client companies going about their business with no Apple products or Linux boxes in sight.

But, I’m going to stick my neck out on one thing: I think a large number of businesses will completely ignore Windows 8.

Windows 8’s user experience represents the biggest change to how the operating system works since Windows 3.1 evolved to Windows 95. Ever since the first developer previews of Windows 8 hit the scene, I’ve chatted to fellow-techies and canvassed their opinions on the new OS. Their views range from indifference, to total bafflement as to exactly what Microsoft is trying to achieve.

Here’s why I just cannot see my clients taking an interest in Windows 8.

The Windows 8 Start Screen
The Windows 8 Start Screen

1. Users don’t care

When an individual gets to the office, they don’t really care what their computer’s user interface looks like – they just want to get their work done without the machine slowing down or crashing.

If you want proof of this, just consider the fact that Computerworld recently reported that 41% of the world’s PCs still run Windows XP – which does everything any business needs it to do. Yet, I don’t hear users complaining that their machines are “out of date.”

2. Users don’t like change

I’ve recently migrated a number of user groups from XP to Windows 7. Sure, the users do become familiar with it quickly, but they don’t embrace changes and enjoy new features in the way that computer enthusiasts do.

Remember that the fact you are reading this article places you in the small percentage of the population interested enough in technology to visit an IT website. Many corporate computer users are still getting their heads around copy and paste.

3. Businesses have no intention of buying touch screens

None of my clients will be easily persuaded to buy touch screens, just because they allow Microsoft to do things in a more “modern” (or more iPad-like) way.

Businesses spend money to do new things, or so they can do existing things better (or more quickly). They don’t spend money just to do things differently.

4. Windows 8 doesn’t know what it wants to be

Is it a tablet operating system, a touch operating system or a desktop operating system? To me, and to many of my associates, it’s trying to be all the above and not succeeding particularly well at any of them.

The way that, in its default state, Windows 8 keeps flicking between the tiled Metro view and the traditional Windows desktop is strange and illogical. If it stresses me out as a techie with Microsoft certification, I know what the users are likely to think.

Sure, there are already plenty of published ways to disable Metro – but if you’re going buy Windows 8 only to turn it back into Windows 7, then what’s the point? Why not just accept that…

5. Windows 7 does it better

I’m sure there will be plenty of home users and enthusiasts with touchscreen PCs who’ll grow to love Windows 8. Business users, however? I just can’t see it. With years to go before support for Windows 7 is withdrawn, consultants like me will edge them towards safety and supportability.

And what happens then? It’s quite simple. Windows 7 becomes the new XP, and Windows 8 becomes the new Vista.

  • http://www.techerator.com Dustin Patterson

    You hit the nail on the head, sealed the coffin, and place it 6 feet under with this one! Very well put.

    Being in charge of the IT for a small business, every single point you listed are the exact reasons what I am looking to skip over Windows 8 for the company.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jonathonwisnoski jonathon wisnoski

    I think you are ignoring the biggest reason why business will ignore it, it came out too soon.

    Any business, worth its salt, knows you do not just go out any buy 10,000 copies of the latest OS the day it is released. You personally run tests on your network and common software, and it is potentially years (and a few Service Packs) before you start rolling out a new OS. I expect many corporations have not even started rolling out windows 7 yet.

  • http://twitter.com/Geek_News Geek_News

    IMO W8 was built for the home user and not built for the majority of businesses anyways. I personally think beyond this MS is going to have to re-think and possibly separate out the OSs.

    They need to do what they did with XP and XP embedded build a true ‘business class’ operating system built around speed, functionality and security and then have a second home edition with all the newest bells and whistles.

  • http://ranonobel.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/wordpress-is-now-the-top-when-it-comes-to-the-lists-of-the-blogging-platform/ Alec Taylor

    My Bussinessman say Xp is better to window8 because They need to do what they did with XP and XP included develop a real ‘business class’ os designed around rate, performance and protection and then have a second house version with all the latest gadgets.

  • zipguy

    I agree wholeheartedly with all your points above. The most telling point is
    “Windows 8 doesn’t know what it wants to be”

    It does make “Windows 7 do it better”, to most users, especially those that are on laptops (the majority at home) or desktops (mostly at work), and, not on touch screens! Some are on tablets, or phones, where this version of the Windows 8 was produced.

    It does seem a lot like what happened in the past, a long time ago. Microsoft saw what Apple was working on, which they had copied from what Xerox had under development, that used a GUI (Grapical User Interface) and a mouse. Microsoft produced Windows 1.0, Windows 2.0, long before Windows 3.0 (or Windows 95) came out. Microsoft was saying “Here’s the latest and greatest software, come get it!” which most people looked at, and the people dismissed both versions!

    I supported touch screens (for restaurant employees) back when Windows 95 was widespread (and 98 had just come out). Their menu was extremely complex to design (which I wrote with good software). Microsoft barely supported touch screens, back then, and they were expensive!

    This Windows 8 version is heavily influenced by the many, many versions of phone based OS (Operating Systems), where screen real estate was precious, and tablets (touch screens).

    It does remind me a heck of a lot to the comparison of a good, stable (finally) OS, namely Windows 7.0, vs Windows 8, which seems a like “Windows 2.0″, which is dazed and confused!

    It had been called “Metro” while they were developing it back in Sep 2011, which should have come out a LOT better.

    Microsoft should be concerned, but they have to produce a much better version of the OS in the version 9.0 (or 8.1).

  • http://www.geocities.ws/thezipguy zipguy

    That’s interesting all my comments were deleted, which did take an hour to compose properly, without even a response!

    • http://www.techerator.com/ Evan Wondrasek

      Hi @zipguy,

      Your comments were not deleted, but maybe were not visible for a technical reason. I’m able to see your most recent comment here: http://www.techerator.com/2012/11/why-i-think-businesses-will-ignore-windows-8/#comment-911490336

      • http://www.geocities.ws/thezipguy zipguy

        They are here at http://www.techerator.com/2012 but not at:

        http://www.techerator.com/2012/11/why-i-think-businesses-will-ignore-windows-8/

        Not sure if there is a technical reason, perhaps it was too long, I didn’t realize that it was such a high traffic site. lol I voted myself a vote.

        I just noticed that it has a yellow icon on the left of my “avatar”, is that the problem? Pehaps it has yet to be “approved”.

        • http://www.techerator.com/ Evan Wondrasek

          This is what I see: http://i.imgur.com/sc3W2Ox.png

          Is that the comment you’re referring to?

          • http://www.geocities.ws/thezipguy zipguy

            Yes that’s the comment that I worked on. It did not have a orangeish Icon in front of it though.

          • http://www.techerator.com/ Evan Wondrasek

            I believe the orange indicator appears when the comment has been navigated via an anchor in the URL. It shouldn’t show up if browsing the comments normally.

          • http://www.geocities.ws/thezipguy zipguy

            I think I know what happened.

            To make it short, it did save my reply, which I had re-edited over 30 times, and I hit the refresh button in my browser, that made me think it had gotten deleted, but it moved it down to the bottom of the screen, which I did not know. That’s why I thought it had been “deleted”, even though it hadn’t!

            That’s why I responded with some angst. Most sites you only reply in one position, and it does not move your reply.

          • http://www.techerator.com/ Evan Wondrasek

            Got it, glad it worked out :)

          • http://www.techerator.com/ Evan Wondrasek

            I should say, by default the sort order is set to “Oldest first”, which is why your new comment showed up at the bottom of the list. If you scroll to the top of the comments, on the left side you can click “Oldest first” and change it to a different sorting method if you like.

          • http://www.geocities.ws/thezipguy zipguy

            I think “Newest” would be better. Did Techerator set it up this way?

          • http://www.techerator.com/ Evan Wondrasek

            That’s just the default from Disqus.