Why Microsoft Feels Pressure to Release A Sequel to Windows 8

MVI Windows LogoAs we mentioned last week, the release of Windows 9 is just around the corner. Though the official word from Microsoft is that we can expect to see Windows 9 in early 2015, there are rumors swirling that we might get a technology preview yet this month. That’s just two years after the release of Windows 8 and great news for consumers, many of which found Windows 8 confusing and frustrating. But in addition to wanting to move past the negativity surrounding Windows 8, Microsoft has a few other important reasons to rush the release of Windows 9.

According to the lifecycle fact sheet on Microsoft’s site that lists official policies, October 31, 2014 has been named as the “end of sales” date for Windows 7 machines. Though it will continue to be supported until at least 2020, preinstalls of Windows 7 on new PCs will cease on this date.

That means Windows options are quickly disappearing for consumers. Without a sequel, Windows 8 will be the only Microsoft OS available on new computers. (That is, unless you’re willing to spend the extra cash for an expensive business machine running Windows 7 Professional — Microsoft has yet to announce an “end of sales” date for Win 7 Pro.) Could the lack of choice prohibit sales? Or worse, will it be enough to tip the scales for those consumers questioning whether “now is the time to switch to Mac?”

Likewise, Windows 8 has been wildly unpopular among SMBs. When support ended for Windows XP in April, many businesses chose the older Windows 7 rather than migrating to Windows 8. Even scarier, a three month study released by Bitdefender, noted that as of June 2014 about 1 in 5 SMBs hadn’t migrated at all, and were still using Windows XP despite its vulnerabilities. Though cost definitely plays a part of any hesitation to embrace technology advancements, surely the case could be made that poor reviews of Windows 8 caused many executives to take pause. Knowing that NOW is the time savvy CTO’s will start planning for Windows 7’s  “end of life” in 2020, Microsoft is very wise to provide another option for users sooner rather than later.