Windows 8 will fail in the enterprise, warns Gartner

Windows 8 will fail in the enterprise because of the "big gamble" Microsoft took in designing it more for tablets than traditional PCs. So warns Gartner, which adds that the operating system will never get more than 20% to 25% of the enterprise market.

Gartner analysts Michael Silver and Steve Kleynhan wrote in a research note that IT administrators will likely stay away from Windows 8 in part because of its touch-centric interface.

In a Webinar, Kleynhans added that an additional problem is that many companies are still using Windows XP, and that it's a much bigger step to move from XP to Windows 8 than from XP to Windows 7. Computerworld quotes him as saying:

"It's not an option to skip Windows 7 and go to Windows 8 if you still have Windows XP in your environment."

Later, he added:

"There are enough issues with Windows 8, there's significant [upgrade] fatigue in the market. Windows 8 will not get the kind of acceptance that we've seen with Windows 7....

"Windows 8 will get 20% to 25% of the corporate user base, at most, before it's replaced with whatever comes next. It will look more like Vista, [and] it won't have the installed base that we've seen with Windows 7 or XP."

Microsoft must have known this during the operating system's design, so the company is clearly betting that it will make up for that with consumer acceptance of Windows 8 mobile devices. But I don't expect that to happen.

In order to make headway against Apple and Android tablets such as the Google Nexus 7, and new Kindles and new NOOKs, Microsoft will have to either beat them on price or features. But it doesn't appear as if it will be able to do that. Windows 8 RT devices and Windows 8 tablets look as if they'll have fairly high starting prices, with RT devices starting at $599 and Windows 8 devices at $799. And although I'm a fan of Windows 8 on tablets, there's no compelling reason for people to choose it over iPads.

The end result may be the worst of both worlds for Microsoft: Lagging enterprise deployments, and modest consumer acceptance of Windows 8 and Windows RT mobile devices.

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