Windows 10 Adoption Surges, but Many Users Cling to Windows 7

Microsoft on Monday announced that its Windows 10 operating system is now active on more than 200 million devices.

Windows 10 adoption accelerated at the end of 2015, with more than 40 percent of new devices activated since Black Friday, said Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of the online audience business group at Microsoft.

Windows 10 is on the fastest growth trajectory of any of version of the Windows OS, and the newest edition is outpacing Windows 7 by nearly 140 percent and Windows 8 by nearly 400 percent, he said.

However, it trails behind the more than decade-old Windows XP and even Windows 8.1 in terms of overall Web traffic,NetMarketShare reported.

Windows 10 had 9.96 percent of all Web traffic generated on desktop operating systems in December, compared to 10.9 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively, for Windows XP and Windows 8.1, according to its latest report, released last week.

In With the New

“With 200 million installs already, Windows 10 is an undeniable success for Microsoft already,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst atNetpop Research.

It has built on the success that was Windows 7, said Scott Steinberg, principal analyst atTechSavvy Global.

“Microsoft was wise to listen to customer feedback and took the suggestions to heart,” Steinberg told the E-Commerce Times. “It is also preinstalled on all new devices, so anyone who bought a new computer already adopted Windows 10.”

Reaching Its Goals

Even with the surge, Microsoft has quite a way to go to reach its target of 1 billion installs within the first year of release, Crandall told the E-Commerce Times.

“Windows 10 will continue to build momentum in the market, but it’s just going to take more time to educate the market than previous operating system releases,” he noted.

“Microsoft is still suffering the Windows 8 debacle, and for consumers on Windows 7, they have heard the horror stories of Windows 8 and are reluctant to change anything in their computing environment,” Crandall added.

Out With the Old?

“Getting users of older Wintel systems [to upgrade] is always problematic, especially those with awful memories of trying to upgrade to Vista,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

In this case, Microsoft is a victim of its own success, he told the E-Commerce Times.

“Windows 7 was a terrific OS, and its satisfied users are this decade’s version of the XP users who forcefully resisted upgrading to more contemporary versions of Windows,” King said.

“In addition, Microsoft did an excellent job of correcting problematic issues in Windows 8 with the 8.1 upgrade,” he noted. “In both of these cases, users simply don’t feel any compelling need to upgrade, and that’s likely to remain the case until they purchase new systems.”

Today’s productivity applications don’t require the hardware upgrades of decades past — and that means older software typically will do the job.

“For consumers on Windows 8, most had purchased new computers, and their processing power is sufficient for their needs,” said Netpop Research’s Crandall.

“They don’t need a new computer to surf the Web or run the latest Office software,” he added. “So, the consumer adoption curve of Windows 10 is not nearly as steep as it had been for previous Windows operating systems.”

Business as Usual

Businesses are slower to adopt a new OS for many of the same reasons. Current software and applications already run on Windows 7/8.1 machines, so there is little incentive to upgrade.

As a result, “corporations have yet to adopt Windows 10 in full force,” said Crandall. “We’ll start to see increased adoption in the corporate world in 2016.”

The final consideration may be a changing business model.

“Windows 10 licensing is a paradigm shift from previous versions,” noted Crandall.

“It’s a subscription-based model rather than purchase, i.e., purchasing a license to use,” he added.

“While free today, it’s unclear how Microsoft will charge for the operating system in the future,” said Crandall.

“Consumers understand what it means to purchase a license and own the media for their use, however they need,” he said. “With a subscription-based model, there is less clarity around what they can do with the media, whether they can reinstall it if their computer crashes or upgrade their hardware.”

Peter Suciu is a freelance writer who has covered consumer electronics, technology, electronic entertainment and fitness-related trends for more than a decade. His work has appeared in more than three dozen publications, and he is the co-author of Careers in the Computer Game Industry (Career in the New Economy series), a career guide aimed at high school students from Rosen Publishing. You can connect with Peter on Google+.

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