Four reasons Windows 8 can't match Vista's adoption rate

The newest figures about Windows 8 adoption are out, and they show that Windows 8 increasingly falling behind even Vista's poor adoption rates. Here are four reasons why Windows 8 won't manage to match even Vista's bad performance.

Upgrade cycles are longer

People simply are not upgrading their old PCs at the same speed as they used to. There was a time when people replaced their PCs because the old hardware couldn't run newer applications very well, or when applications were written for newer versions of operating systems. That's no longer the case. Increasingly, it's a Web-based and cloud-based world, where Web-based and cloud-based apps are more important than local applications. Older PCs generally run these new apps without problems, so there's no reason to upgrade old hardware. That means fewer potential Windows 8 customers.

In fact, far fewer people are abandoning the aged Windows XP operating system than expected. Computerworld's Gregg Keizer's reports that:

The decline in usage share of Windows XP, which is slated for retirement in 53 weeks, has slowed significantly, hinting that millions of its users will hold onto the operating system much longer than some, including Microsoft, expect.

Tablets are replacing PCs

Increasingly, people are buying tablets rather than buying PCs to replace their existing computer, or buying laptops as an additional computer. In a world where people buy relatively fewer PCs, there are simply less consumers out there who will even consider getting a new PC with Windows 8 on it.

People don't like Windows 8

There's no way around it: Plenty of people simply don't like Windows 8. It feels like two operating systems rather than one -- one built for touch-based tablets, and other for mice and keyboards. When confronted with the unfamiliar, people tend to stay with the tried and true.

Windows 8 tablets haven't been selling

Neither version of Microsoft's Surface has sold particularly well, and other hardware makers haven't been able to get people to buy Windows 8 tablets, either. Microsoft partners such as Asus and Acer have either abandoned Windows 8 tablets for the moment, or are putting off a decision whether to build one. The latest figures from Net Applications show just how poorly Windows 8 tables have sold: Barely more than one-tenth of 1% of personal computers than went online last month were running a Windows 8 tablet.

How badly does Windows 8 lag Vista? Computerworld reports that:

"Windows 8 last month fell even further behind the historical adoption pace of Windows Vista, Microsoft's 2007 flop, new statistics showed today."

In February, Net Applications says, 3.6% of all Windows PC ran Windows 8, compared to Vista running a 4.9% adoption rate at the same point in its life cycle. For all the reasons highlighted here, don't expect Windows 8 to beat the Vista adoption rate any time soon…or possibly ever.

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