Windows 8 Early Adoption Numbers Spell Bad News for Microsoft

Amped up for the release of Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 8? If so, then you’re a member of a very exclusive club.

That’s because, with just three weeks to go until Windows 8’s official launch, only 33 in 10,000 people are using Windows 8.

I know what you’re thinking — why would anyone be using Windows 8 if it hasn’t even been released?

Well, Windows 8 is available right now in Release to Manufacturing (or RTM) form. Many developers, businesses, and IT administrators have been given the chance to use a near-final build of the OS.

The same was true for Windows 7, which launched in 2009.

And here’s how the two match up: in the month before its release, Windows 7 was used on 1.64 per cent of all Windows-based computers. By comparison, Windows 8 is currently running on just 0.33 per cent of all Windows PCs.

What that means is that five times more people were excited enough about Windows 7 to install an early build of the OS.

It also means that Microsoft could be in for a big (and not at all pleasant) surprise when Windows 8 launches on October 26. (The company has a New York City global launch event slated for that day.)

So, what’s the problem?

Windows 8, unlike Windows 7, takes the Windows operating system in a very new direction. Microsoft is introducing a new, tile-based interface (originally known as “Metro”) that optimizes performance on touchscreen devices, like tablets and smartphones.

But the interface-formerly-known-as-Metro is a bit intimidating for people (including home and business users) who prefer to use laptop and desktop PCs for all their downloading, work, and entertainment needs. It may feel like that you need someone performing a remote desktop connection to provide a tutorial of where everything in the new operating system is located.

That’s why analyst firm Gartner recently predicted that Windows 8 will never acquire more than a 20 to 25 per cent share of the lucrative enterprise market.

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