While Microsoft did just start showing off their latest operating system ”Windows 8″ last week at their Build conference, they are still encouraging you to upgrade to Windows 7 as it’s the best path to upgrade to Windows 8 when it does come out. At the moment it looks like that will probably be sometime in mid to late 2012.
Rich Reynolds, general manager of Windows commercial marketing, revealed that Microsoft’s internal research showed that 90 per cent of companies they polled indicated that they had plans or were in the process of migrating from Windows XP or Vista, to Windows 7. Of course this isn’t really much of a surprise especially when you consider that Windows 7 was released back in 2009 and the first service pack has been released for it. Companies have had plenty of time to listen to feedback and test out the operating system for themselves and sort out any issues that they may have.
A Gartner research paper also encouraged businesses to continue with their migration to Windows 7 as planned and not to skip it and wait for Windows 8 just yet. Not only will it be much easier for the companies to then update their systems to Windows 8 if they so wish, but they need to keep their systems up to date and protected. Support for Windows XP is being phased out and will end in 2014. Now that may seem like a long way off, but that’s actually a very tight schedule for businesses to roll out a new operating system.
At the moment it looks like Windows 8 may reach the RTM stage sometime in the middle 2012. It typically takes 12-18 months for large corporations to test out a new operating system and prep themselves for the roll out. Then Windows 8 would have to be rolled out and that again will take time. So that would mean the earliest you would have large corporations updating to Windows 8 would be in late 2013, awfully close to the 2014 cut off point for XP support.
However if they just upgrade to Windows 7 now they will be covered with support for many many more years to come (Microsoft hasn’t said when support is ending) and can easily upgrade to Windows 8 in their own time.
So basically, if you’re a large corporation and are thinking of holding off on Windows 7 in favour of Windows 8, think again.