Windows

Windows 8 in the Enterprise: Why IT pros say no

Gina Smith surveyed enterprise tech pros about their intentions regarding Windows 8. The reaction was less than enthusiastic.

We surveyed 50 tech pros via Google plus, as well as 15 tech pros from large enterprises at the geek site I run about whether they were gearing up for a Windows 8 switch.

Out of 50 tech pros I interviewed at enterprises around the world, 41 said they had no plans to bring in Windows 8 because of learning curve issues. Many are racing to upgrade XP systems to Windows 7 now and Windows 7 sales are as brisk, or brisker, than ever - the opposite of what typically happens before a major OS release comes out.

The move is on

But there is nothing usual about this. There appears to be a massive move to upgrade Windows XP based PCs in the enterprise - MS sold 70 million Windows 7 licenses in just the last quarter - and avoid the huge UI change involving tiles designed more for mobile devices than desktops.

Credit: Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain.net

Consider too that Microsoft announced it would stop supporting Windows XP, that stable and much beloved OS, come April 2014. And there are more options than ever in open systems and enterprise offerings from Google and Apple, to boot.

"I think Windows 8 will make Vista look like a champ," Santa Monica tech pro Luis Levy told me.

That's a scary thought. Is Windows 8 destined to become the Vista of 2012? Really?

Not out of the realm of possibility.

Tech pro Patrick He says no Windows 8 for his enterprise - no way, no how, and not now, definitely. "We'll (likely) stick with 2008/sbs2011 for the near future. Mostly because we're (only now) finally convincing (the enterprise) to move to the new-fangled system and even then we're having resistance."

We provide IT services to SMBs and a lot of them look at what they've got and say "It works." So I don't need to spend the cash. As far as desktop users (in that enterprise) go, most don't want Windows 7 because they're used to XP - and some have software that hasn't been updated in years," He added.

For most of the enterprise he works at, he added, the new UI and features in "Windows 8 would be almost too much of a culture shock.

Tech pro Patrick Hegyes of Indianapolis pointed out, "On the desktop side, even most of the people I try converting to Windows 7 are reluctant since the UI is different from XP. With Windows 8 it's completely different" again.

For Hegyes, if the decision to go to Windows 8 is ever made, it'll happen after "users get their laptops and PCs at home on Windows 8, adjust to (the UI) there. Then I can move them forward when they're comfortable," Hegyes said.

In the Business Insider, +Julie Ort compared the barrier to learning the new Win 8 UI on desktops to "Ben and Jerry's discontinuing Cherries Garcia ice cream and trying to get everyone to switch to Greek yogurt - even while Cherry Garcia is still flying off the shelves. Yeah, Greek yogurt is all the rage right now in dairy delights, but you can't really force (it) down the throats of people who prefer ice cream."

Mitesh Shah, a tech pro in Ahmedabad, India, spoke most harshly. "No Microsoft product is allowed in our network. The reason behind this decision is we think we can fix our servers in Linux much easier. Like suppose there are some situations where we can fix our servers by modify some system files, I can modify Linux system files and release my patches online so other Linux users can read my patches and help me to make these patches more useful," he said.

Adding, "For the people I personally advise and help with their IT infrastructure, we will probably stick with 2008/sbs2011 for the foreseeable future. I am just now convincing them to switch to the current system since their 2003 installations have worked up until this point. A lot of people I help don't have the budget to switch to a new OS just yet."

Microsoft is set to stop supporting Windows XP, an early 2000 era pre Vista OS that is stable and still has a loyal following. Its push now into the enterprise is with ARM tablets running Windows 8. With no Outlook, will it work?

Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain.net

Road less traveled

Colorado Springs systems admin and tech pro Eric Beehler is taking a ride down that Microsoft avenue, one of only eight IT pros I spoke to who also plan Windows 8 adoption, though they're not sure how or when. Windows 8 on tablets is the big enterprise play that attracts Beehler.

"I think my first target for 2012 server will be for core Windows services like file servers and domain controllers. For Windows 8, tablets will likely be first in a specific use case scenario, especially where people didn't like a Citrix solution on an iPad. Desktops will be Windows 7 for a while."

And Windows 8 does have its fans among the gang I spoke with.

Alexander Genato, a tech pro in the Philippines, said "actually like it and am still using the consumer preview on one of my old laptops. I probably won't upgrade most of my old gadgets to Win 8 but will on my newer devices. (Personally) I will probably buy in on some new touch friendly device. It looked weird at first, but it gets you hooked on its UI after a few days."

He added:  "This is also the big risk. People generally tend to hate change."

Outlook

No kidding. Consider Outlook - or the lack thereof - on ARM based Windows 8 tablets. What is up with that?

The fact that ARM-based tablets - like the small-screened Microsoft Surface - are at all hobbled doesn't bode well. Microsoft needs to get great apps for Windows 8 out there and court these enterprises. The Microsoft decision is no longer a slam dunk. Far from it; stay tuned.

Gina Smith is editorial director of the deep geek site aNewDomain.net and writes about Microsoft and other topics here for Tech Republic. Email her at Gina@ginasmith.com.

Also read

About

Gina Smith is a NYT best-selling author of iWOZ, the biography of Steve Wozniak. She is a vet tech journalist and chief of the geek tech site, aNewDomain.net.

191 comments
banaun
banaun

We will just wait until most people try it out first and come out the patch then only we will consider to use the new OS. For old PC with old OS, there will be no action to upgrade to the latest version of OS. For a company, the budget for IT have to be tightly control. The new implementation of OS cannot be just carry out over night and expect every one to use it and face no problems. There will be many problems we will need to face. For example when we have our new Windows 7, there is network share problems that need to be solved. Without those post and people had tried, we will be facing even bigger issues. Even so, till now there is still some network share folder that unable to work at certain time. And have to use workaround to settle. Vista is the worst nightmare we ever had. With the experienced we learned. It prove to works very well when Windows 7 come out. With the drastic change of UI, a lot of training time will be needed for the staffs. Also for the technical people. Certain hardware, the driver is totally not supported. So the rules is, as long as it is working. There is no need to change. Unless there is really a lot of benefits. Else change and progress will be carry out steps by steps. Even for Windows 7, we have to downgrade some to Windows XP. Reason is cause either of software not supported or driver issues.

viProCon
viProCon

I only read about 10 posts as time is limited for me today but it seems at least some people aren't aware that there are two versions of the Surface tablet coming out, the RT based oneand the full Pro unit. This latter item will have Outlook and all the rest as a normal PC would. The RT unit is just a way for MS to compete with the iPad and the Pro version is MS trying to skip ahead of Apple and get Enterprise adoption. Or so I've read.

deanjohnson03
deanjohnson03

Think of the tablet market and what there is on offer. Android, Apple and Blackberry have all had their share. The only thing missing is the biggest OS in the world which is Microsoft. I think it is amazing how they are literally pushing the bounds of mobile technology. A Windows 7 desktop albeit with some customisations, and the new metro interface on a mobile device; some with Intel i5 processors installed at your fingertips. They might be onto something here?! If someone said to me 5 years ago that you could have all of the programs you run on your PC on a tablet device I would have swore at them. Now it is almost here! There are always somethings that people do not like in an OS. Some people do not like the locked down functionality of Apple iOS for example. People may warm to the new way Microsoft over time. I am sure it will start making more sense soon. I for one have got my eye on a Microsoft Surface Tablet!

dryflies
dryflies

OK, I get the "radical ui change" argument. but people have been working on smart phones for a while and I think they will transition more easily than the it world gives them credit for. I have one application at least where windows 8 can make a big difference. and that is collecting field data for integration back at the lab. Our scientists go out to the field and gather their data on laptops, then bring it back and integrate it into their databases at the lab. with compatible operating system, if the same applicartions are available on the tablet as are on their desktop/laptops then the lighter, easier to carry tablets will be used more.

gh4tech
gh4tech

Gee, Windows 8 has tiles, just like the original Windows Ver 1.

sarai1313
sarai1313

have nay of you read about the cost under 50 dollars to much come on you spend that much on coffe in a week.

jamalxp
jamalxp

Dear i think u never been into middleast market and techi's... v r here anxiously waiting for Win2012 & 8 and we are ready for the upgrade... currently everywhere ull find win7 on desktops and Win2k8R2 on Servers here... its not actually the budget thingi i belive its the change ppl r so old minded and our old minded Techis aint got guts to change those dump brains of the higher managment & end users so they find excuses and say NO Win 2012 is not going to be in production sooon... Man you have to charge... if u stay dumb these top guys and end users will beat up down and that wot i consider failure of IT Techi..

RealInIT
RealInIT

This will not happen on my watch! The user base is pro-XP and are not convinced that they want another new UI, especially one that is completely different than their IPads. Besides, the training curve is massively high for the Help Desk!!! They have enough to keep them busy without the burden of Win8... Not for about 10 years, at least!

AudeKhatru
AudeKhatru

You show us IT pros who are just moving to Windows 7, so...if so many companies are just moving to Windows 7, which was released more than two and half years ago, then...Windows 7 must have been a terrible failure, until now. But, it wasn't. From the start, Windows 7 has been a success, but it's adoption by businesses has been slow. So adoption by business is not necessary for the success of a Windows release. So, Windows 8 could be a success, just like Windows 7 and still not be adopted by businesses. Also, with so many businesses moving to Windows 7 recently, of course, they aren't going to be moving to Windows 8 right away. And, there is a learning curve to Windows 8, so there is something to be avoided, just like with Windows Vista. Vista has been labeled as a failure, but it still sold in the tens of millions, 60 million by July 2007 according to one article. Wow, that is more like an iPad level success than a failure. My point here is that even if Windows 8 follows the path set by Vista, it could be a huge success for MS and never even touch business. Many businesses might skip Windows 8 and wait for Windows 9, but if the sales of Windows 8 are as good as Windows Vista, then I think it likely that MS will stick with Metro, and by the time Windows 9 rolls out, businesses will not have much choice if they want to stick with the latest hardware. But one way or the other, your argument, that this small survey points to Windows 8 failure is based on failty logic, when viewed against the past history of Windows. Like so many Tech Writers, your conclusions seem based more on providing a seemingly controversial conclusion, rather than on looking at the situation logically. I say "seemingly controversial" because this opinion lines up with almost all the other Tech Writers who are all such big Apple fans that they feel the need to constantly predict Microsoft failures.

sarai1313
sarai1313

no one has looked at the latest number in enterprize for windows .i guess not or i would not be reading all this drible.

jjvolk
jjvolk

Lets face it. The Zune phone interface on the desktop just makes no sense! Apps on a desktop you cannot close! Your not going to print your invoices and sales orders using the stupid Metro interface! Desktop OS's are designed for real work - The Metro interface is not. Windows 8 is going to be a massive FAIL for Micorosoft. Worse than Vista! It will be ignored by all but the most rabid microsoft fans. It's just common sense!

mcagirouard
mcagirouard

I evaluated Win8 intensively and was not impress at all with the interface busyness, Of course there is some nice feature under the task management interface. In my opinion this type of OS interface will definitely not be a fit under the corporate world. Too many 3rd party software developers will not even consider going with this product due to the GUI without the start button. The only future to consider for this product would be classified under the tablet world but there is lots of issues to be tweaked by Microsoft. Again, just my opinion

Stephen Townsley
Stephen Townsley

I dont see it matters very much. The Enterprise customers are still rolling out Windows 7 and that will move along. XP will disappear naturally in the same way people said they didn't see the mouse catching on and they wanted to keep DOS. Windows 8 is first and foremost aimed at the consumer. Once a few million PCs turn up with Windows 8 then older versions at work will look like a dinosaur. People didn't understand the start button in 1995. It sounds like same well worn fear of change and cost of change. Change must come because the PC market is evolving and the devices people use are changing.

pccoder28
pccoder28

I tried Win 8 on the desktop: like Ubuntu Unity, it's just not the right tool for that job. There's no compelling business need for Win 8 on the desktop. On tablets, it'll surely have a role. It's best to hang on until Win 9, however, because Win 8 is probably a transitional release. Win 7 is definitely here for the long term: it's solid, a joy to use and there's no compelling business reason to veer from it on the desktop environment.

tmcclure
tmcclure

If you’re not adding functionality, it shouldn’t cost you in productivity. Hiding stuff and re-skinning products in the name of new release is a cheap gimmick to make money. Then to force it down our throat ads insult to injury.

Ajax4Hire
Ajax4Hire

Windows 8 tiles is seriously ugly. It is kindergarten, it is ASCII art converted to Graphics, it if flat, dull, unappealing. The simplicity belies lack of vision not clean interface. Everytime I see Windows 8 tiles We have seen iPads, iPhones, iPods, Android Tablets and phones and we say wow, cool. Apple has retina display, Android phones have HDMI output, Microsoft Windows 8 seems to be stuck in 4-bit color mode. Windows 8 looks like it was

jed.gart
jed.gart

Win 8 is just too clumsy. I miss the start menu and the desktop. Okay It's faster than win 7 but why not keep the start menu and get rid of all those ridiculous apps...xbox games indeed. It's trying to be like Apple and not succeeding at all.

sonotsky
sonotsky

I've been playing with the community preview edition and I can see where it would have some appeal to end users. I have to admit that Metro is a slick interface - as much as I wanted to hate it. However, there's currently one glaring issue that, if not addressed, will be a deal-breaker: Currently, Metro apps and W8 Desktop apps do not share Internet proxy information. You have to run a netsh line in order to push info from the latter to the former... And even then, a lot of Metro apps CAN'T CONNECT. This does not bode especially well for apps developed by organizations in-house, if Metro is the new go-to interface. Despite many postings in the DevNet forums, Microsoft does not appear to be interested in fixing this. For home use, I may take the plunge. For work, until this is fixed, I will be recommending that we hold off.

nwmc
nwmc

I've been using the pre-releases of Windows 8 and the experience has been very good. I expect many consumers will like the Metro interface and the way it pulls information together with applications. I think Microsoft is seeing how successful Apple has been targeting consumers and is looking to get in on the action or take some of that away from Apple but not target business directly.

cheth
cheth

I think Windows 8 will be a good O.S., but will need to be changed to be accepted by the people using the desktop on a PC or Laptop device. Changing the user interface that has been used since Windows 95 is not going to be accepted easily. If you are using a tablet or phone I don't see any problems with windows 8 as is. Even if Microsoft does not change Windows 8 to accommodate desktop users, a third party will end up making the change on top of Windows 8. Can we say Windows 8, Desktop edition for the future.

JJFitz
JJFitz

I will wait until at least Service Pack 1 before I deploy it outside of the IT Department. Let the staff try it at home first. Then they might ask for it at work. That's free training.

sarai1313
sarai1313

thats all i can say to thouse who poop poop win 8 dream on and you are not going to make that choice one of your bosses will not some tech.

JCitizen
JCitizen

is if the Surface had some special guts in it. Sorry for being ignorant, but I have no idea what it comes with, and am just able find the time to come here to comment occasionally. Not much of an excuse, but I'm sticking with it. >:-)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"If someone said to me 5 years ago that you could have all of the programs you run on your PC on a tablet device I would have swore at them." Actually, you could have had it 10 years ago. Toshiba and HP had tablets with Windows XP on them, among other manufacturers. They were capable of running most XP applications of the time. Slow, but capable.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

First, that 'under $50' is only available to those people who buy a new computer with Windows 7 in the months before W8 is released. It's not available to people who already have computers. Second, there are other costs involved besides the purchase price. Some of these aren't easily measurable. Training (both users and support staff), lost productivity, driver upgrades, etc. What's even harder to measure is what benefits a company gains from upgrading to W8. Third, even if the $50 upgrade price was open to all Windows users, most companies run multiple systems. Multiply that $50 by hundreds or tens of thousands of computers. The result ain't chump change.

rick@Hogans-Systems.com
rick@Hogans-Systems.com

Maybe this why the rest of the world is eating our lunch? Too many of American/Eurpean "IT Pros" are stuck in the past, afraid of the future and afraid to learn anything new. Rick

JJFitz
JJFitz

Win 7 will be around for quite a while so who is forcing it down our throats? This article is about the Enterprise - not home computers.

JJFitz
JJFitz

that the desktop is still there. Hit the Windows button. and the "ridiculous apps" can be removed. and you can pin what you use most to the taskbar on the desktop and/or make a tile. and you can create the start menu if you really want to. The instructions are somewhere here on TechRepublic. and you can call up any program you want as long as you know part of the program name. It's your computer / your OS. You can do anything you want with it. Or you can stay with the OS you feel most comfortable with.

Slayer_
Slayer_

But at least you could have an excuse to why the work isn't being done. "I can't type in a terminal window with a touch screen!" I imagine the "mark" function in a terminal window would be irritating. You would have to right click, select mark, then drag your finger over the text, then bring back up the keyboard and hit enter.

jagershot
jagershot

We find beta testers w/in the department then upgrade from there. If feedback is positive and once the SP1 has been release, implemented, and vetted on the test machines, through attrition, new replacement systems will be purchased with Win8. This has worked for us since Win98 was released where we skipped that version entirely until Win2K SP1 was released.

GSG
GSG

The boss signs off on the project, but he's not really technical. it's up to us to do the TCO on the upgrade, and the cost/benefit analysis. Plus, we have some of us testing to see if it's compatible, If the boss wants to upgrade, then we can say that we've looked at it and here's the TCO and CBA, and if you really want to do it here's the cost and timeline. In our case at least, the boss will turn sickly green at the cost and ask how long we can stay where we are.

sarai1313
sarai1313

no battery life,heavy,and like you said slow. not the word for it very,very slow

JamesRL
JamesRL

I worked with a third party about 5 years back who rolled out Windows XP tablets in a work environment. Worked pretty well, could run everything the desktop boxes could run, including the client server apps we sell and support.

sarai1313
sarai1313

and i can do the math also.for a large company to switch over to a new O.S.,inculding the cost lost while employees learn the O.S. even running on v/m.I am only saying thier are a lot of companys who have thousands of employees that dont sit in a office ,who work on a laptop,and keep screwing them up who are going to love have a device locked down,updated with what they want on it.not what the emploee trys to put on it and costing more down time when I.T. needs to fix it or update it.because you do realize that less down time in the field more money for the company? that is not cump change ether and yes i am talking about win 8 on a tablet.

rick@Hogans-Systems.com
rick@Hogans-Systems.com

This is a common theme in this forum. Any time MS comes out with something new, all these "IT Pros" in this forum come out in droves claiming that MS is forcing something down their throats, forcing them to upgrade, forcing them to make drastic changes, forcing them to re-write all their existing apps, forcing them to spend large sums of money, etc. I've seen people here complain because they have some app that only works on Windows 3.1, and they can't find new hardware that supports windows 3.1, and therefore, MS has forced them to stop using this ancient app, because MS has presumably used their influence to force hardware makers to stop making 8088 CPUs and motherboards and RAM that work with 8088 CPUs, and MS has forced hard drive makers to stop making 10 MB hard drives that work with WIndows 3.1, etc. And I'm sure NickNielsen will say I am attacking the person who made this claim, just for bringing up this story from a previous discussion here, to top it off. Rick

JJFitz
JJFitz

put borders around them and put a shaded bar at the top and a minimize, maximize and close button. Wait a minute... Isn't that Win XP, Vista, and 7?? never mind

JJFitz
JJFitz

They just gave you a third (screen) and fourth (stylus) choice.

sarai1313
sarai1313

be turning 60 this year but i have not lost my brain yet. have you working at Digital Services. what is your problem with me. Did I talk bad about you or your love ones or did I kill your dog. I was gone do to the fact of a few deaths in family. So yes I am back .if to do nothing but to piss you off. I wonder just how smart any of you are to keep bringing up touch screens on desktops. Why when a mouse and key board still work. Or is that what you are telling your customers that the additional cost of touch screens is cost prohibitive. Side loading, third party applications with out going to the application store as long as they are digitally signed, and all the old application from windows 7 you can run on windows 8. what the hell more do you want? No I am not talking about RT so don’t go there.

sarai1313
sarai1313

not cnet and if you jerks dont like to hear from me do what cnet does block me out from putting my vote up or opinion out.

JJFitz
JJFitz

I replaced my hard drive with a 128Gb SSD. My laptop convertible is up and ready in 11 seconds (From Bios to Windows). Applications open very quickly as well. MS Word and Excel 2010 open almost instantaneously. This will extend the useful life of my 3 year old tablet.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

We saw lousy performance on Toshiba and Dell tablets, but that may have been due to the models selected. I don't know what makes or specs you and James used, and I don't remember the specs of what we had. They were intended to be the primary systems for their half-dozen users, but the performance quickly ended that. They requested their desktops be returned, and the tablets were used only for the single customer-mandated application we bought them for. Both ran more effectively when upgraded to W7, but by then we had phased them out of productive use; I just loaded it for giggles. They're all gone now, and I don't miss supporting them. sarai, as to battery life and weight, it's tough to make valid comparisons between six- or eight-year-old hardware with contemporary systems. deanjohnson wished he'd had a Windows tablet five years ago; I pointed out that one was available even earlier than that. In those days, Windows tablets were lighter, faster, and weighed less than Android or Apple tablets ... because there weren't any.

JJFitz
JJFitz

The batteries in my 3 year old Win 7 (now Win 8) tablet last over 8 hours. It can hold two batteries so battery life is not an issue. It is heavier than Android and Apple tablets but it does a whole lot more of what I need it to do than they can. It is not "very slow". It has a 2.8GHz core duo CPU and 4 Gb of memory so it is not slow.

JamesRL
JamesRL

The users we had could manage an 8 hour day by running it for 3-4 hours, charging it at lunch, and running it till close. And it wasn't slow. It was running some small apps, and accessing a VM on a server for anything demanding.

JJFitz
JJFitz

to load up applications that I use most often in Windows 8 just as I used the taskbar and the commonly used apps (Start) in Windows 7. I use search in Win 8 when I am looking for an app or file that I don't use / access very often just as I use search in Win 7. I really don't see what the big deal is.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

The software is not certified for 8 and because of what it is there is no way that it will be used till it is. Unfortunately little things like Big Legal Bills are not an option for that crowd of people. It's also not certified for 7 but it is for Vista so go make sense of that. ;) So far 8 seems OK and works well but I honestly don't like Metro and going to search to find things I find a bit difficult or maybe just too different for my comfort zone. Using Search to me at least is what an End User who doesn't know the system would do but maybe I've just got the wrong way of looking at things. :D Col

rick@Hogans-Systems.com
rick@Hogans-Systems.com

But I am wondering, what problems does Windows 8 specifically bring to those "small volume applications or special purpose custom applications...?" In Windows 8, regular desktop applications still run on Desktop that looks almost exactly the same as the Desktop in Windows 7. The Metro Start Screen is really just a replacement for the old Start Menu. Rick

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Moving to Metro wouldn't be such a big step. Sure the Metro Tiles are all one color and don't have a break down of little icons in them but they have what they are written on them so they would probably be easier for someone moving from 3.11 to 8. The real problem is for those who used and are currently supporting small volume applications or special purpose custom applications necessary to the business. Col

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

And a 'Start' button in the lower left? I'd settle for the option to turn Metro off.

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

it was likely along the same lines as here...argumentative of other's opinions...sigh...you know...kinda like at our house ;)

Darryl~
Darryl~

blocked them for a reason....hummmm.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Especially when they try to read his letter on air.

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

we Canadians can read...and i believe as much as CBS may be the parent company, TR is its own entity and moderates itself as such. If you don't happen to like the opinion of the moderators and other users here, by all means, move on.

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

with Nick...it can indeed be arranged

sarai1313
sarai1313

of this site. you do know how to read? in canada

Slayer_
Slayer_

CBS? The TV station?

sarai1313
sarai1313

threat to me .i am shure cbs is going to love this