Microsoft

Why Windows 8 has businesses in stitches

An upgrade to Windows 8 is not even on the radar of the majority of businesses, with most firms yet to fully make the switch to Microsoft's previous OS according to a Gartner analyst.

Most businesses aren't ready to upgrade to Windows 8 and have no plans to do so, according to analyst house Gartner.

The majority of firms surveyed by Gartner have not finished making the switch to Windows 7, the report by research director Gunnar Berger said.

"We recently did a large field research study and specifically asked all of our interviewees if they were looking at Windows 8, most laughed," he said.

Not only are companies unprepared for the upgrade to the forthcoming Microsoft OS, they are also likely to hold back for fear of being burned by technical and performance problems, having learned from the difficulties that afflicted early adopters of Windows Vista, he said.

The reported apathy towards Microsoft's new OS, with its focus on working with touch-based computers like tablets, echoes the reservations of TechRepublic's CIO Jury, who recently voted no by a ratio of nine to three when asked whether the new features in Windows 8 made it attractive to their organisation.

Writing on ZDNet Larry Dignan predicts that the more likely upgrade path for enterprise will go from Windows 7 to Windows 9 and skip the eighth incarnation.

Another barrier facing Windows 8 when it comes to enterprise adoption is what Berger describes as its lacklustre handling on desktop PCs with a mouse and keyboard, a staple of the modern workplace.

Describing how it handles on non-touch screen devices Berger said: "In a word: Bad.", primarily because the OS is unintuitive.

"Extremely important menus in Windows 8 are hidden off screen, easily brought in when using a touch and swiping with your thumbs, are absent when using a mouse," he said.

"Prior to this incident, I can't tell you the last time I had to ask someone how to do something in a client OS."

As far as enterprise adoption goes Microsoft's best route into business may be on consumer tablets, as the number of people using personal devices in the workplace continues to increase. Gartner's Berger predicts that IT departments will prefer supporting Windows 8 on consumer devices compared to alternative tablet platforms, as it will afford them greater control.

About

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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