The Problem with Windows 8: Why XP and 7 are Still on Top

The Problem with Windows 8: Why XP and 7 are Still on Top

January 27

T-minus four months and counting until Microsoft Corp. no longer supports Windows XP (with a few exceptions). But even as April 8 nears, few businesses are eager to transition to Windows 8, opting instead for Windows 7.

As of December 2013, Windows 7 had a 47.5 percent market share of among operating systems compared with 46.6 percent the month prior, while Windows XP held 28.9 percent, down from 31.2 percent, according to Net Marketshare charts. Windows 8 and 8.1 had market share of 6.8 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively in December, compared with 6.6 percent and 2.6 percent.

The study, “Getting Over Your XP,” found that 76 percent of IT professionals run Windows XP on some devices, and of those, 36 percent plan to keep Windows XP on at least one device, SpiceWorks reported in a December press release. The independent study was sponsored by CDW, a provider of integrated information technology solutions.

“The majority of people will migrate by the April deadline, but there are some groups that are saying they might not be ready by then,” Peter Tsai, IT content marketing manager at Austin, Texas-based SpiceWorks, said. “The No. 1 reason was budget limitation and the others were lack of time and resources. Especially at small businesses, if you have one IT guy, he won’t be able to upgrade 100 machines within that time.”

So why hasn’t Windows 8 taken off with businesses?

Well, Tsai and Adam Schaeffer at SpiceWorks say it is because of the comfort level that XP or Windows 7 brings. Many companies developed applications, software and hardware to run on XP and may not have the budget to recode them. In addition, Windows 7 has an XP compatibility mode where you can run XP based applications inside 7 and don’t have to spend for an XP license, Tsai said.

It could also be procrastination: Microsoft has said it plans to support Windows 7 through 2020 with patches and non-security bugs until Jan. 13, 2015, and then security updates until Jan. 14, 2020, ComputerWorld reported.

Pushing consumer views could be that even the computer companies aren’t behind the Windows 8. Digital Trends reported in January that HP’s new campaign is pushing machines outfitted with Windows 7 over 8, using the phrase “back by popular demand.”

Add to that reports that Microsoft is distancing itself from Windows 8 by going straight to Windows 9. In January, ExtremeTech reported Microsoft plans to debut 9 in April 2015. Early reports say 9 will try to undo some of the user snafus brought by 8.

To Microsoft’s credit, Schaeffer said Windows 8.1 did well to address feedback, including the beloved start menu.

And, based on a new survey, 2014 could see a big transition in what operating systems will be used. According to a new report, “2014 State of IT Budget Report,” respondents plan to spend 44 percent of their 2014 IT budget on hardware solutions, while 31 percent will spend on software products.

Among those purchases, a majority of the hardware will be desktops or laptops that may come already outfitted with Windows 8, Schaeffer said. In software, 60 percent said they expect to purchase operating systems and productivity suites for end-user environments.

Whatever happens this year, businesses are so far sticking with what they know, and it will most likely take some good public relations on the part of Microsoft to get businesses to transition to the next operating system.

Source: Net Marketshare, December 2013