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A new report from market research firm Forrester finds that enterprise IT interest in upgrading to Windows 8 lags far behind their interest in Windows 7 at a similar point in the release cycle. However, many enterprise workers are surprisingly enthusiastic about the new operating system.
Computerworld's Gregg Keizer reported, "Enterprise IT decision makers are about half as enthusiastic about the new Windows 8 as they were three years ago about the then-just-released Windows 7, an analyst said today. Employees, however, have a higher-than-expected interest in the revamped operating system when it powers a tablet, second only to Apple's iOS, which runs the iPad."
Fred Donovan from FierceEnterprise Communications observed, "There is more bad news for Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows 8 in the enterprise. Barely 4 percent of IT decision makers have plans to migrate to Windows 8 in the next year, according to a survey of 1,282 IT decision makers by Forrester Research. This finding follows the announcement of security holes in Windows 8 found by security firm Vupen and a prediction by Gartner that 90 percent of enterprises would bypass broad deployment of Windows 8 through at least 2014."
Forrester's David Johnson blogged, "Employee interest was even higher than I expected prerelease, which means that Windows 8 will likely become a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) force for many organizations, but the high number of undecided respondents suggests that the next 12 months will be critical." He added, "Most IT shops are still in the midst of their Windows XP to 7 migration. Clients report that migrating to Windows 7 is an expensive process, with application migration and modernization, the OS upgrade process, and the associated labor and costs. With only 4% of firms having a plan to migrate to Windows 8 in the next 12 months, the majority of new corporate PCs currently being deployed with Windows 7, a three- to five-year life cycle on PC hardware, and the end of Windows XP support coming in April 2014, Forrester believes few firms will be anxious to make another major investment in desktop OS migration."
However, ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley commented:
Here's what Forrester's summary fails to make explicit: Windows 7 (Windows 8's predecessor) is seen as a solid operating system release, and one to which many IT shops are only now moving. Vista (Windows 7's predecessor) was not widely adopted or seen as a release to which organizations would benefit from moving. In other words, Windows 7 might be too good for its own good (like another version of Windows before it), at least in the business world.
The other caveat: IT organizations seldom move to a new operating system shortly after it is released. Even if they stop waiting around for the first service pack before moving, larger shops have lots of planning and testing to do before making such a move. Windows 8 only became available to volume licensees a couple of months ago.
Not all of Forrester's projections spell doom and gloom for Windows 8's enterprise prospects.