Perhaps the biggest challenge that Microsoft faces after the release of Windows 8 is convincing users (particularly business users) to make the move to the latest OS. And coincidentally, this also remains one of the hardest of challenges for the Redmond giant.

Universal (or at the very least widespread) acceptance of Windows 8 in both consumer and business realms will not just boost the sales figures, but will also drive up application development for the new platform — emphasis on the word ‘new’, please.

Windows 8 biggest enemy is Windows XP. The trusty old horse still has a few laps left in its legs, as the 11-year old OS holds its position as the second most popular operating system on the planet.

This is second most popular, by a long distance, mind you.

Besides being fast and (relatively) stable, Windows XP has rooted itself in most businesses the world over. Companies, small and large, are so content with the OS that Microsoft has a hard time convincing them to outright abandon this platform.

For them the jump to Windows 8 is, big, for the lack of a better word. Analysts believe that most consumers and businesses would prefer Windows 7 as their next upgrade. The Service Director at Freeform Dynamics, Andy Buss, spoke to The Register:

“It’s a big jump from XP to Windows 8. Some people will make the leap if there is a real need but many will simply move to Windows 7. Based on past experience we would expect a slow take up of the new operating system and for a few years we’d expect adoption to be modest with many companies hanging back.”

Basically, Windows XP users will not upgrade to Windows 8 just because Microsoft is telling them to.

This gives new meaning to the term, ‘enemy within’. In fact, in this particular case, we are talking about enemies within — those who can hold back will still ride the Windows XP wagon for another year or two.

And those ready to upgrade have their eyes set on Windows 7.

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  • Jenn

    So many business owners have the money saving attitude of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. Windows XP works great in the business world; very user friendly and easy to navigate. Has anyone had any experience yet with Windows 8 in the business world where there’s multiple employees?

  • Rex King

    At this point, the majority of the people using Windows XP are doing so for a reason. While the vast majority of these users may be in the transition stage such as large enterprises, to think these will move to Windows 8 is not rational. These are deeply conservative and will not adopt a brand new OS. Windows XP will expire before they are comfortable with W8, they will go to W7.

    The other main reasons for staying on Windows XP are:

    1.) Old software conflicts. These users have been using the same software for ages and have either checked and seen that the software they love will not work, or just from past experience dont trust that their software will work. They will use XP after it exprires, up to the point they can no longer install it (new machines without XP drivers). Be sure this will not likely ever be W8 for these users. Just being real.

    2.) Users that will use their machine until they are dead, dead, dead. They are likely using their machines for over 10 years now. This group will likely purchase a new PC with what ever is on it, (including W8 if that is what is on it if a tablet will not meet their needs).

    3.) Users who by definition dislike change. This group is very similar to those with software conflicts. Except, expect this group to jump ship before using windows 8. This group comes in many flavors. They may call themselves “power user” and will even be under the extremely misguided consideration of W7 as a downgrade from XP. This stuborn group is basically irrational. If normal users are leary of Windows 8, this group will consider it to be end of computing as we know it and will basically refuse to touch it.
    In the short term, MS would be foolish to think that any XP user will move to W8. Long term is still a different thing. I would expect eventually 50% of these or more will end up making the move to either W8 or W9, but not in the first year.