This weekend I was just casually browsing up and down the aisles at one of my local computer stores. All the usual array of promotional banners and offers were on, but there was one in particular that caught my eye. It was a Windows 7 banner, (no surprise there) but what caught my attention is that it was advertising Windows 7 as a “NEW” just released operating system. Of course it was followed with the usual “quicker, securer, etc..” marketing, but it got me thinking. If stores are still advertising Windows 7 as “new”, do we really need Windows 8 so soon?
I know you’re going to argue that Windows 8 isn’t due to be released until early 2012 at the earliest, but realistically the average consumer wont be ready for it. Windows 7 has been out for just over 18 months at this stage, and while it is making good progress in terms of market share, I still don’t feel that the vast majority of people have even upgraded to it yet.
Microsoft had a fairly valid case for getting Windows 7 out as quick as they could (to make up for Windows Vista). Not only the average home user, but also many businesses and enterprises around the world were shouting for an update, so if Microsoft wanted to keep them, they had to deliver. And they did, Windows 7 has received the thumbs up from pretty much everyone and they all seem quite content with it. At the moment there is nothing more that they want than an operating system that’s quick, clean and reliable.
Realistically the average consumer isn’t going to buy a new computer every 2 years. You’re probably looking at more 3-5 years. Of course the more techy ones will upgrade their operating system without updating their hardware, but for the most part people don’t update their OS until they get a new computer that’s running it. Windows 7 came out at the end of 2009 so by the time Windows 8 comes out in 2012, barely 2 years will have elapsed. Consumers won’t be willing to update their systems then, especially if they buy them between now and then.
Look at the enterprise scene too. For large enterprise’s it’s taking nearly 12 months to roll out Windows 7 and update their current systems. It’s costly and expensive for them to do it, generally you won’t find them updating again for at least another 5 years. If you look at it, Windows XP can still be found in many businesses, and that’s been on the go nearly 10 years now. Many of them haven’t even started the roll out yet, but plan on starting it during this year. They’ll have barely got Windows 7 running and staff trained by the time Windows 8 comes out, do you think that they’re going to go through the costly upgrade and training process so soon? If they’ve any sense they wont.
Of course there is a smaller minority of users like ourselves who are always keen to keep up to date with all the latest technology and who are gasping for something new all the time. But I’m afraid we’re not where the vast majority of Microsoft’s sales go to.
I’m interested to hear your views on this, feel free to express them in the comments below…