One billion. Without context, the number still manages to stand alone as impressively massive. However, in regards to Microsoft, the number stands as a reminder of a lofty promise towards a seemingly daunting accomplishment. This year, at Microsoft’s annual Build conference, the company took to stage and attempted to rally Windows developers behind its latest Windows offering. Presenter after presenter celebrated the various new features and additions the new OS would include to make developers lives more convenient. Windows 10 was advocated to developers for its enhancements in security, stability, platform flexibility and compatibility, reduced digital footprint, and its return of user-friendly UI elements, to name a few features. While many of the features discussed at //Build/ this year are welcomed refinements, it may have been Microsoft’s goal of” Windows 10 running on one billion devices in the next few years,” that grabbed most people’s attention.
As comically fiendish as the number may sound, it’s a very real and very needed goal for Microsoft to attain. Microsoft’s brute forced numbering strategy isn’t solely design as a developer grab, but it’s also a pledge to IT Pros and enterprise. A confluence of legacy support, a successful Windows 7 release and the critically panned introduction of Windows 8 and 8.1 updates, chilled the waters for enterprise upgrades recently. IT Pros were either too busy migrating their workforce to Windows 7 or finding workarounds to continue support for legacy Windows, to deal with the admittedly enterprise-unfriendly nature of Windows 8 and 8.1. As enterprise licensing accounts for the bulk of Windows revenue and profits, the tepid enterprise response, wasn’t something Microsoft could stomach for very long.
With all the enterprise concession set to launch with Windows 10 at the end of July this year, Microsoft and its relationship with the enterprise is still in question. The folks over at SpiceWorks took a survey to gain insight into where Microsoft and Windows 10 stand in the eyes of enterprise and IT Pros. In an IT report title Windows 10: Will it Soar? SpiceWorks included a survey of 500 IT Pros who were questioned about how they felt about Microsoft’s latest offering.
“Across the board, almost every IT pro we talked to is interested in learning more about Windows 10. An overwhelming 94% of survey respondents are at least somewhat interested in adopting the OS, with 49% saying they're very or extremely interested. And the enthusiasm for the OS doesn't stop there... 60% said that they had already evaluated the Windows 10 Technical Preview.”
SpcieWorks deduced that the increased level of interest this time around for Windows 10 could boil down to its proliferation through free upgrades. If Microsoft can successfully implement its free upgrade policy for consumers, IT Pros may see that as one less user in need of training. As BYOD continues to grow as a practice in the enterprise, the more users are familiar with Windows 10, the easier it may be for IT Pros to deploy the OS. Other noted influences for Windows 10 enthusiasm from IT Pros include, the promise of a single OS running universal apps across various form factors as well Microsoft's intent to make this the ‘last’ full version of an upgrade IT will have to deal with.
Although the numbers are encouraging for the bean counters over at Microsoft, the road to victory isn’t a clear one. SpiceWorks also notes that many IT Pros still labor over some concerns regarding unanswered questions about the upgrade.
"Despite lots of early interests, mass adoption of Windows 10 could encounter delays. Preliminary testing of the final Windows 10 code needs to happen, and concerns about the OS need to be addressed before IT departments can declare the OS ready for takeoff. For example, IT Pros worry about OS compatibility issues with existing hardware and software, initial bugs that still need to be worked out, user interface changes that will require end user training, and a lack of support from 3rd party vendors. Additionally, unanswered questions around Windows 10 were licensing, and the free upgrade offer have many IT pros in a holding pattern until they get more information"
Despite the concerns, the survey reveals that 73% of businesses still plan to run Windows 10 on at least some devices within the next two years. In comparison, the famed Windows 7 only managed to reach 60% of usage after the initial two years.
The SpiceWorks report is a very detailed look at the 'what’s' and 'how’s' Microsoft’s Windows 10 will need to address when presenting Windows 10 to enterprise over the next few years. The report delves further into:
- Which devices Windows 10 will land on
- Qualities that IT pros look for when choosing an operating system
- Why IT departments migrate to new OSes
- Which Windows 10 features are most enticing to IT Pros
- What IT thinks about the new Edge / Spartan browser
If you have the time and are interested in the report, take a look. Let us know in the comments section below what else you think Microsoft needs to do to achieve universal success with Windows 10.