The fate of Windows 8 being eagerly adopted among small to mid-sized businesses or ignored like it was named Vista may lie in the hands of employees who ask for the operating system or not, according to a new user survey coming out of the U.S.

Windows 8 is being tested at most U.S. SMBs, but actual adoption has actually slowed slightly since the launch of Microsoft’s most radical redesign of its flagship product since Windows 95, according to a market insights report released in February by Spiceworks Inc. The survey was conducted of more than 1,000 respondents entirely in the U.S. at two times – ahead of the Windows 8 launch in August 2012 and following it in December 2012. Though it didn’t contain any Canadian respondents, it provides a strong hint at how the Windows 8 discussion is going at SMBs north of the border.

Spiceworks-Windows8-adoptioMany SMBs are at least testing Windows 8, with 69 per cent saying they’re doing so with a test environment, on a few limited PCs in production, or in a virtual environment. That’s up from 48 per cent saying they were testing (with a release preview) prior to the product’s commercial launch. But slightly less SMBs actually plan to adopt Windows 8 following the release. Just one-fifth of SMBs plan to adopt the new OS within two years versus the pre-launch survey that indicated one-quarter of SMBs planned to do the same.

Related Story: Windows 8 hasn’t boosted PC sales yet

While it’s not exactly the bottom falling out on adoption plans, the fact more SMBs aren’t planning to adopt soon after launch is bad news for Microsoft. One of the main factors behind the lethargy could be that few businesses actually see much difference between Windows 8 and Windows 7 (which 96 per cent are currently supporting). Thirty-six per cent of SMBs say they see “no major improvements” in Windows 8 over Windows 7. When asked why they are not planning to adopt Windows 8 sooner, 57 per cent said it offered “no real advantages over current OS used,” the most popular response.

Related Story: Seven resources for your Windows 8 migration

The good news for Microsoft is those who planned to adopt it within 90 days of release did see improvements in speed (64 per cent), security (58 per cent), and manageability (44 per cent), among other qualities. Also, IT departments appear willing to move to the OS if their employees demand it. If workers bring a Windows 8 tablet to work and ask to use it, 71 per cent of IT professionals will acquiesce and support it.

So it may be that Windows 8′s consumer success will dictate its success in the business market as well, unless Microsoft can communicate the business case for migrating to the new OS more convincingly.

Source: Spiceworks
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  • 44fourty

    Pity it is not call “i”Windows 8, everyone would be streaming towards it like happy little puppies. I love the environment, people just scared of change, Microsoft in trouble for not changing, now in trouble for changing. The way my phone, tablet, work and Home PC + Xbox work with this, it is the best system yet.

    • DarrenM365

      I’m a small business owner. I’m a software developer. We create software designed for small businesses, and our software is customized for nearly 90% of our customers.

      I was excited by the UI possibilities opened up by the Metro UI / modern apps, so we installed Windows 8 right after release on the president’s computer, a consultant’s computer, a development computer and a marketing person’s computer.

      We use Remote Desktop a lot to connect to our own servers and customer’s servers. Immediately we discovered that on all computers the Microsoft Remote Desktop Client crashes within a few seconds of establishing a connection on all of those computers. The work around is to use the Remote Desktop Connection manager software (which does not crash), but still the built in client should work.

      The new UI only took about a day to get used to and most users quite like it. There are some annoyances and some things that we think are steps backwards (for example, Outlook e-mail notifications no longer include the ability to delete a message that you see is spam in the notification).

      The problem came when people tried to do their jobs.

      Consultants:

      – Could not register / un-register .DLL files. Right-Click run-as administrator batch files wouldn’t work because the path information was lost.

      – Setting policy to allow the user to run as a true administrator fixed that problem and let them work like they did on Windows 7, but they immediately lost the ability to run any “Modern UI” application.

      Developers:

      – Could not register / un-register DLL files.

      – Could not debug legacy application code.

      President of the company:

      – Could not use RDP

      – Continued to get errors and other issues in Office Applications

      Marketing person:

      – Generally happy. No issues to report.

      Within 2 months, the Developers and President had to be switched back to Windows 7. We were just losing too much productivity.

      Developing for Windows 8: Disaster.

      Our company builds customized software for small businesses. So we were excited about creating Modern UI applications for our customers. On investigation however, we discovered that there are only 2 ways to deploy a Modern UI App:

      1. Via the Microsoft Store — intended for mass market applications.

      2. Via Windows “Side Loading” licenses on a corporate server.

      Our customers are 5 to 25 person companies. To implement #2 the company has to purchase side loading licenses in packs of 100 licenses — so a 5 person company has to spend nearly $3,300.00 to buy 100 side loading licenses so that they can install our software. Sometimes the custom projects are only worth $1500, so they’d spend twice the cost of our software to be able to deploy it.

      The business model is just wrong.

      So even if I didn’t have the glitches / problems with the OS itself, it doesn’t make business sense to deploy the platform because:
      1. It lowers worker productivity.
      2. It costs WAY MORE to build and deploy custom Modern UI applications.

  • Relatively early adopter

    I have moved over to this platform and am still amazed at the way it has transformed weary machines into respectable performers. I mostly use the desktop because “Metro” doesn’t allow you to tile programs so multi tasking is not as efficient. Love Bitlocker included with Pro-seamless.
    I have experienced issues with printer/scanner drivers from large manufacturers who will not or cannot update properly-most recent driver download. E.g. Canon USB scanners cannot be unplugged and plugged in again without a reboot. Some other HP printers have page sizing issues.
    Here’s the main problem: I will not upgrade any further machines in the office. Fortunately I installed Win 8 Pro while Microsoft had the $40 sale to Jan 31, 2013. Pricing at $249 does not offer enough to justify updating old machines.
    New machines will be Win 8 Pro but upgrades will only come if MS offers a more attractive offer.