I’ve been saying for a while that corporate/business/enterprise customers are going to avoid Windows 8. IT departments have no interest in helping countless users re-learn Windows basics because of an ill-conceived and unavoidable user interface decision by Microsoft.
Enterprise IT folks are not interested in performing Windows upgrades on thousands of PCs unless there is a good reason to do so. When Microsoft stops developing security patches for Windows XP in April 2014, that will be a good reason to upgrade machines still running XP. Thankfully, there are alternatives to Windows 8.
After a lot of early problems with networking, compatibility and drivers with Windows 7, that O/S has emerged as the next go-to O/S for Windows-based PCs. Moving a user from Windows XP to Windows 7 will not involve a lot of re-training, drivers have matured, and software compatibility issues have mostly been resolved. Windows 7 sales are likely to exceed Windows 8 sales in the coming months, no matter what Microsoft does to encourage people to skip Windows 7.
Apparently, the attendees of a recent TechMentor conference held at Microsoft’s headquarters agree. According to those folks, Windows 7 is going to be the next Windows XP, with 7 assuming the mantle of ‘most solid and reliable Windows O/S’ for enterprise users.
My own plans are to evaluate Windows 8 on a test PC, but switch my Windows XP machines to Linux if possible, and Windows 7 if not. Windows 8 has a lot to prove before I will even consider using it on any of my main PCs.