Survey Shows Strong Windows 8 Interest Among IT Pros
Compatibility questions listed as No. 1 reason they wouldn't make the move.
A Redmond magazine survey of attitudes toward Windows 8 may give hope to Microsoft -- and to developers writing applications for the new operating system.
The poll shows that more than 60 percent of respondents are interested in the successor to Windows 7 that can run on both desktops and mobile devices. When they may actually upgrade to Windows 8 is another matter.
The survey went out to more than 1,400 IT pros. In it, 20.7 percent said they were "very interested" and 40.2 percent were "somewhat interested" in Windows 8 for their companies.
The survey, which polled Redmond magazine and newsletter readers, may signal good news for Microsoft, as 62.2 percent of respondents saying their shops were "somewhat" or "very interested" in Windows 8 also indicated that they have direct input in authorizing purchases.
When asked to predict when an IT shop migration to Windows 8 could occur, almost half (49 percent) of respondents were unsure of their timetable. Another 17.9 percent of those surveyed said such a move could be possible in the first year of release, while 17 percent predicted waiting until the second year before upgrading.
As for Windows 8 hardware purchases, 57.8 percent of those looking to migrate said it will only buy Windows 8 machines to replace older machines "as the need arises." Another 31.3 percent said that their buying strategy will include a combination of buying some new PCs and installing Windows 8 on older hardware.
The respondents who didn't plan on an IT shop migration to Windows 8 (43 percent) cited questions with compatibility as their No. 1 reason why they wouldn't make the move.
"If Windows 8 rolled out compatible with older applications (especially those produced outside Microsoft), that could persuade my shop to move to Windows 8," commented a reader. "A common frustration is incompatibility with currently used printers and scanners. It is on the level of our frustration with Mac's incompatibility with Flash Media Player."
Asked about their personal interest in Windows 8, 26.7 percent of respondents expressed being "very interested," while 30.3 percent marked "somewhat interested" as their current enthusiasm level.
When citing reasons for the interest, many said that tight integration with tablets and smartphones has them excited, especially if the interconnectability comes with a level of security that is missing when running multiple OSes over multiple devices.
"I'm looking forward to the Metro interface for personal tablet devices and being able to fully integrate them into our enterprise environment without compromising security or ease of use," wrote one survey participant.
Those respondents that had a "neutral" interest level accounted for 24.3 percent of participants, while 9.1 percent and 9.6 percent of the respondents were "somewhat disinterested" and "very disinterested," respectively.
When asked why they had a negative interest level, one anonymous respondent said that the Metro interface was the main reason why they were not excited for Windows 8.
"The idea that Windows 8 will be running on glorified cell phone hardware is leading Microsoft in the wrong directions," wrote a survey participant. "For example, quietly leaving applications running when they appear to have closed is a mistake that will make many customers angry once they discover what is happening."
The survey was conducted over a three-week period in April and May, and participants included Redmond magazine and newsletter subscribers.