Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system was supposed to be the next great PC operating system from the software giant. But more than a year after its launch, Windows 8 adoption simply stalled right out of the gate.
Adoption across the world is in the single-digit percentages, and the company has done nothing yet to prove that it can change that situation. What’s worse, the enterprise has stuck with Windows 7 and has shown little inclination to upgrade. Furthermore, there are still plenty of individuals and businesses who are getting buy with Windows XP.
Microsoft appears to be in a situation similar to the period after it introduced Windows Vista and customers stuck happily with XP. The only arguable difference, perhaps, is that Microsoft isn’t contending with the quality issues that dogged Vista.
So, what must Microsoft do? It’s simple: Get serious about Windows 8 adoption and getting people across the globe to see it as a natural and timely replacement to Windows 7. In the past, Microsoft has muscled its way through operating system versions by nearly forcing vendors (and thus, customers) to invest in its software. But there are more alternatives now than when it shipped Windows 7. Microsoft just doesn’t have the kind of market power it once did.
As a result, Microsoft must do it the old-fashioned way by convincing customers that Windows 8 adoption makes sense. Here is why steady Windows 8 adoption is an important piece of Microsoft’s future.
1. It’s becoming a running joke
Windows 8 is becoming a running joke in the technology world. At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, for example, the company laughed at Windows 8’s adoption figures. Microsoft’s many competitors have also taken the opportunity to hit Windows 8 with some shots. Microsoft needs to fix that PR problem sooner rather than later.
2. Vendors are certainly not serious
Looking around at the products vendors are currently selling, it’s hard to believe they really care about Windows 8’s fate. Nearly every PC vendor right now is selling Windows 7 with the computers it offers. In order to run Windows 8, customers will need to choose the operating system during the customization process. If PC vendors aren’t working hard for Microsoft, the software giant must pick up the slack.
3. Apple is looking to pounce
Apple is more than happy to see Windows 8 have trouble. The company’s OS X operating system continues to receive upgrades and for the most part, users are quite happy with them. That immediately results in fewer Windows PC purchases and more Mac buys. Microsoft doesn’t need that right now.
4. Google is pitching Chrome and Android as a Windows replacement
Meanwhile, Google is doing all it can to discredit Windows 8 and prove that Chrome or Android are worth deploying—especially on tablets and notebooks. It’s an interesting move, and one that could have massive implications for Google and Microsoft future growth. Right now, Google isn’t much of an OS threat. But if the company continues to whisper in the ears of PC vendors, it might not be long before they start listening and testing the market.
Windows 8 Adoption: 10 Reasons Why Microsoft Must Get Serious About It
5. It affects Microsoft’s hardware sales
Microsoft’s hardware sales are directly affected by the trouble the company is having promoting Windows 8. If buyers decide that there is no urgent reasons to move to Windows 8, the Surface tablet loses. It’s as simple as that. Microsoft has to be aware of that.
6. The corporate world is standing aloof
The enterprise has always been the staunchest supporter of Windows. For more than two decades, Windows was the natural choice for IT decision-makers around the globe. After using Windows PCs at the office, employees bought Windows PCs for home use. It was all about familiarity and comfort. But the PC market has matured and there are more alternatives to Windows than ever. Microsoft has to compete harder for that market than ever.
7. It affects adoption across other platforms
Another issue with Microsoft’s Windows 8 adoption is that it affects how users buy application software. Many developers, including Microsoft, have applications that are designed to work with Windows 8, and have a better look and feel to them on that operating system compared to Windows 7. If people aren’t buying Windows 8 PCs, though, they’re not seeing that benefit. If the Windows market doesn’t show the robust growth that used to be its hallmark, it might not be long before those developers follow customers to other platforms, such as Android, iOS, Mac OS X or even Google Chrome.
8. It affects future Windows versions
Windows 8 could also prove to be a big problem for future Windows versions. Microsoft has said that it won’t change the design of its OS and customers will eventually need to adopt it. But what if they don’t? Windows 8 is a drastic change from previous operating systems. if Microsoft sticks with the design, future Windows versions might fail.
9. The rest of its business is vulnerable
Looking at Microsoft’s many other businesses, it’s hard to pinpoint any single division—save, perhaps, for Office—that would maintain the company’s profitability over the long haul. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s other businesses just aren’t all that strong. So, without Windows doing well, the software giant would be in trouble.
10. Retailers aren’t helping
Microsoft recently announced that it was taking back control of its Windows Store outlets in Best Buy retail locations. The move was a thinly veiled acknowledgement that right now, retailers are unwilling to play nice with the software giant. Apple’s iPhones and iPads are what is selling these days; Windows 8 isn’t. And unfortunately for Microsoft, retailers are reacting to the market changes.