Windows 8 may not launch until later next year, but many businesses are already aiming to jump to the new OS.
A full 52 percent of the 973 IT professionals polled by InformationWeek last month said they plan to upgrade to Windows 8. Among those, 5 percent said they'll deploy Windows 8 to their users as soon as it's available, while 13 percent said they'll switch within the first year, and 19 percent within the first two years.
Only 10 percent of the likely upgraders said they'll switch on an as needed basis, 24 percent said that ultimately all of their computers will be on Windows 8, and 34 percent reported that at least three-quarters of their PCs will get the new OS.
Though some of the IT folks seem jazzed about the new features in Windows 8, 36 percent of all those polled said they're upgrading mainly because Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP in April 2014. The powers that be in Redmond have been trying to convince businesses to get off XP before the support tap is turned off for the 10-year-old OS in less than three years.
Microsoft has even urged enterprises still on XP not to wait for Windows 8 and instead take the leap to Windows 7 now. Though usage of XP has dipped over time, it's still the most popular operating system with a market share of almost 50 percent, according to data from Net Applications.
The 48 percent polled that aren't planning a Windows 8 migration said they're staying put with Windows 7 and XP for two reasons, noted InformationWeek.
First, many IT pros already have enough projects on their plate of greater importance to their users. Second, those polled expressed the usual worries about compatibility. But now those concerns are greater due to the higher number of smartphones and tablets being brought into the business.
'''Compatibility' no longer automatically means 'Windows running on an x86 CPU,' because Android- and iOS-based systems running on ARM processors are more commonly used in business, too," noted InformationWeek.
Companies also running Windows 7 have little desire to launch another lengthy and expensive upgrade so quickly, something that InformationWeek sees as "bad news for Microsoft."