I wrote an article last week asking if Windows 8 was in danger of becoming the next Vista?. One of the reasons I asked this question is that Microsoft has pulled forward its release schedule for Windows 9 to next year, possibly April. What happens though if Windows 9 isn’t well received by the public and business customers? Could Microsoft’s customers actually stomach another operating system that they see as no good?
As it stands businesses have pretty much completed their move to Windows 7 from Windows XP. If Windows 9 is released and isn’t liked by business they will pretty much stay with Windows 7 until end of support in 2020 (unless of course Microsoft extends this). If this did happen Microsoft would lose billions in licensing fees but more importantly businesses might start to lose confidence in Microsoft being able to produce quality products. This loss in confidence could make businesses start to look elsewhere for their software (Google Apps instead of Office 365?) and this could seriously hurt Microsoft.
In the home market PC sales are approaching rock bottom (they will level off at some point) primarily due to people using tablets and smartphones for their daily tasks instead of PC’s and laptops. If Windows 9 is perceived as just another Windows 8 (which a lot of home users hate) then people will have even less incentive to purchase new PC’s and laptops. The one shining light for Microsoft in this market is that if they can get Windows 9 to work well on a tablet (and be not to expensive) this could generate significant interest and possibly sales. In their defence Windows 8 and RT both work very well on a tablet.
Windows 9 could be a defining point for Microsoft. If it is them getting back on track or slowly sliding into obscurity remains to be seen.
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