Microsoft is betting big on Windows 8, the radical overhaul of its flagship operating system that it’s launching later this week.
But will it succeed?
Research firm Forrester says yes — but not until 2014.
From a Forrester report, issued today, on the next five years of Windows:
Windows 8 is a credible and original tablet OS, but complex hardware choices and a two-headed UX will limit initial uptake after its October 2012 launch. …
Early adopters will jump at Windows tablets. Beyond that, individuals and enterprises will be slow to adopt the new UX [user experience], software vendors need a year to flesh out the Windows Store with apps, and hardware OEMs are offering a complex range of options.
Windows will ramp in 2014, gain almost a 30% share of tablets by 2016, but will miss out in phones. …
Microsoft has gambled big by rolling out the new Windows 8 touch interface to all PCs, rather than just tablets and clearly marked touch-enabled laptops.
Microsoft will struggle to explain the changes and choices in Windows 8, the report predicts, and consumers will likely end up confused by devices with different processors and input experiences.
Other takeaways from the report:
- Forrester says that Microsoft’s operating systems ran on 95 precent of personal devices (in the PC-only market) until the rise of smartphones and tablets, which has knocked Microsoft to a 30 percent share of personal device (PC and mobile combined) OS sales.
- Microsoft has the second largest number of user accounts for personal cloud services worldwide (the largest is Facebook), but in a U.S. sample, it lags behind Amazon.com and Apple on stored credit cards, meaning it needs to make up some ground on getting customers to sign on to paid personal cloud services.
- The PC market is less a third of all personal devices currently. Microsoft remains dominant with more than 90 percent of the PC market, while Apple should reach 10 percent share in 2016.