Windows 8 will be an upgrade failure, IDC predicts

Windows 8 isn’t even in beta yet, but IDC is already predicting that very few PC owners will upgrade from Windows 7 to it. And that’s just for a start — the company also predicts that Windows 8 tablets look to be a bust as well. Those predictions are contained in a new report, “Worldwide System Infrastructure Software 2012 Top 10 Predictions.”

The report claims the following, according to Mary Jo Foley:

“Windows 8 will be largely irrelevant to the users of traditional PCs, and we expect effectively no upgrade activity from Windows 7 to Windows 8 in that form factor.”

The reason for that is fairly obvious: If what I’ve seen in the Windows 8 developer preview holds true to the finished version, there’s not much new that’s useful to owners of desktops and laptops. The new Metro interface is clearly designed for touchscreens and tablets, and the Windows 8 desktop looks and works very much like Windows 7. There’s simply not enough there for anyone to want to upgrade.

Enterprises in particular will stay away because of the compatibility problems Metro is likely to cause in big companies, as well as the retraining and additional support Windows 8 would require.

Anyone buying a new PC, or course, will get Windows 8, so it’ll ship plenty of copies. There just won’t be many upgrades.

Given that Windows 8 seems largely designed for tablets, how will Windows 8 tablets fare? IDC is again unimpressed, and expects Windows 8 tablet sales in 2012 to be “disappointing.”

IDC isn’t alone in that. Forrester recently warned that because Windows 8-based tablets will be so late to market, they’ll likely fail against the iPad, Android tablets, the Amazon Kindle, and the Barnes and Noble NOOK.

Of course, the official release of Windows 8 is still some time away. Microsoft could reconsider its decision to leave the desktop largely untouched, and if that’s the case, there might well be a significant number of upgrades. But given the way things are now, don’t expect Windows 8 to see the upgrade numbers that Windows 7 has seen.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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