Report: Windows 8 'Largely Irrelevant'

Dennis Faas's picture

A leading tech analyst firm has predicted Windows 8 will fail to make a splash among ordinary consumers. The reasoning is that the most prominent new feature in Windows 8 is unlikely to be interesting enough to entice users to upgrade.

The unflattering prediction comes from IDC, which has published a list of 10 predictions for 2012. The comments are only a matter of opinion and are thus largely speculative, however, they carry considerable weight with financial investors.

Metro Interface Not Attractive To Most Users

Writing about the new edition of Microsoft's operating system, IDC didn't say simply that sales would be poor. Instead, it went for a more comprehensive negative outlook.

"Windows 8 will be largely irrelevant to the users of traditional PCs, and we expect effectively no upgrade activity from Windows 7 to Windows 8 in that form factor." (Source:

IDC's comments are based on the fact that Windows 8 will feature a new interface known as Metro, though most users that own a desktop, netbook, or laptop-based PCs have the option to revert to a more traditional set-up found in previous versions of Windows featuring the Start Menu.

Windows 8 Metro Designed for Mobile Use

Metro is designed to work equally well both on touch-screen devices, such as tablets and even the larger smartphones. It's also said to work well on traditional keyboard-and-mouse desktop and laptop PCs.

To support touch-screen use, Metro is based around large on-screen "tiles" rather than the previous small icons, similar to what is used in the iPhone.

The Metro tiles can be dynamic, so that a tile linking to, for example, news services could change rapidly and frequently to include updated headlines rather than just static text or images, as with Windows 7 and earlier graphical interfaces.

Windows 8: Other Changes Less Dramatic

While IDC hasn't gone into detail about its prediction, it is apparently relying on reports that some beta testers find Metro to be unsatisfying when used with a keyboard and mouse.

IDC also appears to be reasoning that users who turn off this feature in Metro will find Windows 8 looks remarkably similar to Windows 7.

While there are a host of changes in the new system, they may not be as dramatically obvious as in previous Windows revisions. (Source:

There may well be substance to IDC's reasoning and predictions. However, even if relatively few people upgrade to Windows 8 on their existing PCs, Microsoft is likely to enjoy a significant revenue spike from the sale of new computers running the new operating system.

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