Voice of IT: Survey respondents say 'yes' to Windows 10

Companies really want Windows 10 to succeed and 73 percent of them will attempt to adopt it within the first two years after release. Good luck with that.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

I'm surprised by the numbers represented in this survey. A whopping 73 percent of the respondents polled stated that they plan to adopt Windows 10 within two years of its launch. The numbers surprise me because neither Windows 7 nor Windows 8 had such high adoption rates. The fact that so many IT shops, including a large number of government units, still use Windows XP gives me the feeling that the numbers seem high. Conversely, it might be time to convert to something newer and Windows 10 could be the panacea for shops still waiting to make a move. Windows 8 didn't take corporate America by storm like many thought it would and many companies decided to take a "wait and see" attitude for Microsoft's next offering.

Journalists and speculators propose that Windows 10 is the "last" Windows. If it isn't, it probably should be. But not because Windows is inherently bad, but maybe it's time for something new, such as a nice web-based desktop or lightweight operating system (OS) such as Chromium or iOS. There just seems to be no need for a heavy operating system anymore.

But until the heavy OS days are gone by, it appears that corporate America is in the mood for Windows 10 -- to the tune of 60 percent of survey respondents admitting to having tested or actively testing Windows 10. Forty percent of those polled plan to roll out Windows 10 within the first year after release. If history truly does repeat itself, I'd personally advise against rolling it out prior to the inevitable arrival of the R2 version. At a minimum, you should wait for the SP1 fixes.

I'm always skeptical about Microsoft's new Windows versions. I've been stung too many times to take the great leap of faith again prior to a major update or service pack. It's funny that I don't feel the same way about Linux releases or Mac OS X updates. I think that most of corporate America's IT pros feel the same way and the Spiceworks survey respondents agree.

For example, 94 percent of the respondents' companies use Windows 7 as the dominant desktop OS, where it runs on 77 percent of the laptops and desktops. Windows 8/8.1 and Mac OS X trail by significant margins: Windows 8.x runs on 18 percent, Windows XP on 14 percent, and Mac OS X on 10 percent.

As a comparison, 60 percent of organizations had at least one instance of Windows 7 running within two years after launch. That is certainly underwhelming compared to the significant number wanting and planning to adopt Windows 10 during the same period.

Windows 10 also intrigues IT folks for mobile devices as well. 48 percent said that Windows 10 features make them more likely to consider Windows on tablets and on smart phones. Currently iOS-based and Android-based devices rule on mobile devices.

It's not all sunshine and roses, though, for Windows 10. Respondents are more interested in functionality and stability than fancy "doo-dads" that aren't needed.

  • Sixty-four percent of IT professionals said they were most interested in the return of the Start button, 55 percent cited the free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8/8.1, and 51 percent referenced enhanced security.
  • Only eight percent of respondents said they were interested in the touch-optimized interface, six percent cited Cortana, and five percent were interested in Hello.
  • When IT professionals were asked to disclose their general impressions of Microsoft's new browser Edge, previously known as Spartan, 25 percent said they were somewhat to very positive, 23 percent said they were neutral, and nearly half said they didn't know enough about the new browser to have formed an opinion. Four percent of respondents were somewhat to very negative.

Seventy-nine percent cited hardware/software compatibility as their greatest concern followed by early release bugs, user training, and lack of third-party support. They also said that upgrade issues also concerned them.

I completely agree. I think organizations should fully test before taking any sort of plunge on Windows 10. I've seen it. I give it a solid, 'Meh'. Like Shania Twain sang, "That don't impress me much". I didn't really see anything compelling enough to shout about. I'm jaded when it comes to new Windows versions. The 'next' one is always going to solve all our problems and it really never does. And forget about upgrading -- that's never worked out for any Windows OS.

I think Microsoft could use a lesson from the Linux community, in this regard, with a good "do-release-upgrade" utility.

I'll watch Windows 10 adoption with interest to see how well it works out. Windows 7 is pretty good, although I'm always surprised at how many people still use Windows XP, including myself. I still use it for certain virtual machines, because of its size, speed, and ubiquitous support. I feel that I need to give Microsoft some good advice about its desktop operating systems: If it ain't broke, don't break it.

The Spiceworks survey conducted in April and May of 2015 included more than 500 respondents from North America and EMEA and reveals a huge interest in Windows 10 for desktop/laptop adoption and for mobile devices. Respondents represent a variety of industries including manufacturing, retail, education, government, finance and IT service providers.

What do you think of Windows 10? Do you think it's the last Windows or just the next Windows? Panacea or another set of problems? Talk back and let me know.

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