Why a Windows 8 downgrade could be best for businesses

Two months after its release, Windows 8 adoption has been slow to catch on – especially among businesses. 

Windows 8’s market share is rising, according to research from Net Applications, based on an analysis of website visitor data. The most recent data shows Microsoft’s new OS with a 1.72% market share, up from 1.09% at the end of November and 0.41% at the end of October.

However, the number is still low when compared to previous versions of Windows. Even the much-maligned Vista had a higher share at 2.2% two months after its release, and Windows 7’s number was much higher at 6.2%.

And while some retailers have complained about low consumer demand for the OS, interest in Windows 8 may be even lower among businesses. Only 8% of the Windows 8 licenses sold in the first month it was available went to businesses, according to market research firm Context.

So far, the majority of IT departments say they have no plans to upgrade to Windows 8, according to a Tech Republic survey.

Windows 8 downgrade available

Many of the companies avoiding Windows 8 are sticking with XP — however, that won’t be a viable option for long, as Microsoft will end support for that OS in April of next year. IT will need to plan an upgrade to something, and many groups are recommending Windows 7.

A recent post on the Consumer Reports website listed some of the reasons Windows 7 may be the best option for businesses and consumers:

  • It’s been available for more than two years, and there still haven’t been many real complaints about Windows 7.
  • One of the key features of Windows 8 is that it works on touch screens, so businesses and users that plan to use plain old PCs have little reason to make the switch.
  • Windows 8 is a lot different than previous versions, which could create tricky training issues.
  • Many device drivers and applications still need updates to work well with Windows 8.

Fortunately, it doesn’t look like organizations still on XP will be forced to move to Windows 8 or risk running an unsupported OS. OEMs will be able to sell copies of Windows 7 until at least October 25, 2013, and PC makers will be able to offer new machines with Windows 7 installed until October 25, 2014, according to ZDNet. In addition, copies of Windows 8 Pro sold with new PCs come with the right to downgrade to Windows 7 Professional.

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