Windows 8: A Fast Slow Start

David Wagner, Managing Editor | 12/27/2012 | 50 comments

David Wagner
On December 17th, ZDNet did a fairly critical article on what it called the Windows 8 slow start, but the very next day, NASDAQ wrote an article saying Windows 8 is the fastest-selling Windows version yet. So which is it?

Believe it or not, it might be both.

The ZDNet article looked at percentage of adoption on PCs. And they point out that when Windows 7 came out, 2.2 percent of PCs switched on launch day, and 5.5 percent had migrated by one month after launch. In contrast, only 1.31 percent of PCs have migrated to Windows 8 one month after launch. The numbers don’t look pretty.

But Nasdaq wrote that Microsoft sold 60 million copies of Windows 8 in the first month, and it's easily on pace to outstrip Windows 7's mark of 80 million copies in two months.

Where is the disconnect?

Well, for one thing, there are simply more computers than there were when Windows 7 was launched three years ago.

For another, Windows 8 sells on tablets and phones as well as PCs. The NASDAQ article doesn't clarify, but I’m assuming Microsoft is at least counting tablet sales, since Windows 8 tablet and PC experiences are nearly identical. This shouldn’t be considered bad accounting or cheating, because part of the Windows 8 vision is that it exists in a consistent experience across all platforms.

Another potential issue is that ZDNet is using data from Stat Tracker, which is tracking the OSes of people visiting various sites. It's possible there is a recording bias in this method.

Regardless, it's obvious Microsoft isn't having a perfect start. If, indeed, Microsoft is counting mobile devices, they are including millions of new devices that are running non-Microsoft operating systems. Their mobile market share is also small. So being excited by 60 million sales might be the wrong way to look at it.

Windows 8 is also being sold at much lower prices. You have to sell a lot more Windows 8 licenses at special $15 and $40 upgrades than you do at the several hundred dollar mark that previous versions have sold at.

On the other hand, Nasdaq also points out that most copies of a new OS are shipped with new hardware. The the fourth quarter hardware sales, when a lot of holiday sales make the bulk of the buying season, will be where Window 8 takes a big jump. Not only that, but PC and netbook sales are expected to jump from 353 million in 2011 to 450 million in 2019. The lion’s share of those devices will have Windows 8 on them.

So, for now, let’s call it a slow fast start for Windows 8. No one is likely to confuse it with the old Coke comeback, but they’re also unlikely to confuse it with New Coke.

As a CIO, why should you care if Windows 8 is off to a fast start? Because BYOD policies mean you have to know what is coming into your department. Right now, Windows 8 might not be the most pressing matter, but don’t take the “slow start” news as a signal to ignore it. The slow fast start means you’re going to have to be thinking about it sooner than the doubters will have you realize.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
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nimanthad   Windows 8: A Fast Slow Start   1/26/2013 3:39:17 AM
Re: Looks Like
Sunita: I tried Win 8 on my laptop and it looked awsome from the background but when I tried to use it I got lost. It was not user friendly at all.
Don K   Windows 8: A Fast Slow Start   1/24/2013 11:33:25 PM
Re: Looks Like
EETh : Im not saying it should be that way but when you have something like Win 8 with totally different interface which suits more (80%) towards the touch devices its hard for the normal PC users to opperate and get used to it. If you are planning on desiging something which suits more towards touch devices just make it available for touch.
mejiac   Windows 8: A Fast Slow Start   1/4/2013 12:00:27 PM
Re: Looks Like
@David Wagner,

Agreed, moving companies out of legacy applications is to be considered a major roadblock when trying to present innovation.

A possible concern is for companies to take a stand similar with XP, to wait until there is no other option but to migrate.
eethtworkz   Windows 8: A Fast Slow Start   1/4/2013 9:32:20 AM
Re: Looks Like

Wish I could say everyone thought like that[Interfaces don't matter].

Unfortunately that is'nt the case.

Most consumers are concerned with just getting the job done with Minimum complexity[Just look at the chaose surrounding the lack of a Start Button in Windows 8].

And I don't blame them either;When you just want to go to your machine ;Do you Job and Leave;you want things to just work.

David Wagner   Windows 8: A Fast Slow Start   1/4/2013 9:28:59 AM
Re: Looks Like
I think the simple answer is that the world changes. Consumer needs change. Work changes. The enterprise changes.

Microsoft thinks (and it remains to be seen if they are correct) that the metro interface works better for the current way we think and work. They responded to the change.

IT departments don't like change for obvious reasons. But if we only changed when It departments liked it, we'd probabl still be using punch cards.

The more complicated answer might be part of a Microsoft strategy to get everyone out of a bunch of legacy apps they are tired of supporting. Making a radical change to the interface means a lot of the old apps look old and may not work right anymore. Getting people to update means they can drop the support for a whole generation of products.
mejiac   Windows 8: A Fast Slow Start   1/3/2013 4:32:13 PM
Re: Looks Like
@David Wagner....good point.

 But then why those it feel that Microsoft is prefering to tailor a solution for the consumer market, and leave the enterprise on "having to" deal with the Metro UI?

I mean, at a corporate strategy level, the enterprise market has always been dominated by Windows why change that? Why try to push something out there that is not made for the work environment?
David Wagner   Windows 8: A Fast Slow Start   1/3/2013 1:11:59 PM
Re: Looks Like
@mejiac- I think the answer is that Windows is selling the OS as a consumer device, but backing it with enterprise technology. Server 2012 and Windows 8 are made to work together for example. The interface is a small (and annoying to some in the enterprise) part of the puzzle. The real goal is to provide a consumer device that pleases consumers while also having the security, apps, and back end support that allow the mobile device to be more palatable to the enterprise than iOS or Android.
mejiac   Windows 8: A Fast Slow Start   1/2/2013 9:24:37 AM
Re: Looks Like

One main question to answer is what is Microsoft Goal?

So the Metro UI is built to please the social media hungry market... but what is the goal at the enterprise level?

I woudn't want to have an OS that leads people to do "non work" related tasks, so the Metro UI is a big no no.
batye   Windows 8: A Fast Slow Start   1/2/2013 1:01:37 AM
Re: Looks Like
well said, right to the point... like everyone else with windows 8... :)  I do not know what Microsoft thinking... or who did usability stidy... and where???
rdv   Windows 8: A Fast Slow Start   1/1/2013 6:11:44 AM
Re: Looks Like
@nimanthad: "I think Microsoft should consider windows 8 strictly for touch devices..."

   This can kill the windows market... If microsoft makes the touch displays compulsory then it cannot push the companies to migrate to windows 8, as this would call for a lot of investment from enterprise perspective.... Also Microsoft would want all the devices, be it tablets, smartphones or PC's all run on the same windows 8 so that they can be synced...
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