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It’s Tough to Do New Things

March 18, 2013

I’m a pretty strong supporter of Microsoft.  As a company, they have pushed and shoved their way into the forefront of computing despite a variety of heavy hitters and a large amount of the populace against them at most turns.  While I don’t always like the methods or the thought process, I admire the focus of the company on winning a market even if they come in from behind.  In fact, what I usually say is that Microsoft assumes that the market happens when Microsoft enters that market, which goes pretty far to show why they win so often.

Of course, one downside of the company is that their “new” stuff often suffers in terms of adoption rate.  So it’s no surprise to me that Lenovo is being cautious about Windows 8 for business.

Lenovo has learned from the Windows Vista experience that the official Microsoft “downgrade” path can be painful. So the machines are “downgraded” to Windows 7 by default. Of course, that’s exactly what customers want – and Lenovo is reaping the benefit of listening to those customers.

The computer maker even throws in a Start Menu for Windows 8, which is installable from the Lenovo software bundle. The company wouldn’t be drawn on the ratio of Windows 7 to Windows 8 machines shipped.

If you want Windows 8 on a system, my recommendation is that you make sure that system has touch enabled.  Otherwise, Windows 7 is a wonderful OS that is one of the most solid base environments I’ve seen for clients.  It’s familiar enough to most users that they can easily migrate from Windows XP and not have a lot of problems.

And the transition appears to be driving a lot of business decisions.  In my own little bubble, this is true.  We recently upgraded the business PC for the love-of-my-life wife to a spiffy new (Lenovo) PC, primarily because we felt that one more PC generation of Windows 7 would be better for consistency and learning.  Sure, I might start to push for a Windows 8 tablet if the opportunity arises in order to ease the future transition, but for now we’re probably good with the PC for about three years, which gives us time to work out the business kinks while the software adapts to the new touch interfaces.  Overall, we’re calling it decent planning.

So business is probably going to be slow to adopt, and consumers who are driving for upgrades will probably not be so happy unless they can use touch.  But still, I expect that Microsoft will move smoothly forward with enabling hundreds of millions of devices this year, and the world will be better.  Eventually.

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