Users will not upgrade to Windows 8 – IDC Prediction

We have seen a few great enhancements arriving in Windows 8, including a brilliant new touch interface, and much more efficient use of system resources ““ but most of the marketing seems to be focussed on tablet form factors and touch screens. The other major development is that Windows 8 will have the ability to run on ARM processors (the same type of processor you might find in your phone or tablet), but it has been recently rumoured that this is only relevant to the Metro style apps, and the existing “œdesktop“ will not be made available on the ARM devices.
So what happens to the existing bog-standard mouse and keyboard users? If you have spent some time with Windows 8 Developer Preview, you will know the interface is not particularly intuitive if you do not have a touch screen. Yes, it is by no means complete, but it makes one wonder how relevant the Windows 8 update will be to users who use standard desktop and notebook PCs.

“Windows 8 will be largely irrelevant to the users of traditional PCs, and we expect effectively no upgrade activity from Windows 7 to Windows 8 in that form factor.” – IDC

Now it looks like IDC has been asking this same question ““ stating that Windows 8 will be “œlargely irrelevant“, as one of their Top 10 predictions in 2012. Their reasons are simple ““

users who do not see the use in new form factors have precious little reason to update. They also blame their assessment on Microsoft‘s current seemingly ambiguous messages about the development future for Windows 8 ““ e.g. will ARM-developed Metro apps be easily ported to x86 platform, and vice versa?
We do not necessarily agree with the assessment though, seeing as Microsoft is in many ways now following what Apple did a few years ago with their mobile platform. Apple also built a cut down version of Mac OSX for ARM, which after many iterations became iOS as we know it today. It required many of the existing apps (like iWork) to be rewritten for ARM and the new interface challenges, but it seems to have worked OK for them.
Question is rather whether this will have the same fate for Microsoft ““ Microsoft has not yet shown or hinted at how Office will look on the new Metro interface. The ribbon interface might be a natural fit for Metro however, as Microsoft has luckily started to shift away from tiny little buttons which will never work with touch interfaces. The other consideration is that Microsoft has in recent years began using feedback from Alpha and Beta testers ““ and let us remind ourselves here that the Developer Preview is PRE-Beta. That means that Microsoft might not be particularly tight lipped, they just still have a lot of work to do.
This does not mean Windows 8 will not be a success ““ the IDC report focuses on upgrades in particular. Consumer buyers of new PCs will have very little control over what OS they might get with their machines. At the end of the day Microsoft has not really marketed their enhancements on the desktop-only side, so these reports might be a little premature. Enterprise markets are typically skeptics when it comes to new Windows versions ““ and Windows 7 was a major enhancement in terms of stability, speed and usability. The typical enterprise mindset of only adopting every second version of Windows is nothing new.
If Windows 8 does not see major enterprise or upgrade adoption, Windows 7 might be too blame – it is just plain good enough, thank you.
Source: IDC Report, Mary Jo Foley