For several months Microsoft Corp. has been beating the drums about its upcoming release of Windows 8
. The new operating system has a new tile interface that will make the desktop version compatible with versions of the OS that run on smart phones and tablets.
The test is simple: Examine how many PCs are running pre-release versions of Windows 8 -- either the beta test or the release-to-manufacturing version that enterprises and IT professionals have had access to since August -- and compare it to the number that were running Windows 7 before its launch.
Net Applications believes that five times as many PCs were using Win7 in 2009 than are using Win8 today.
That could be insignificant in the long run. On the other hand, aside from the interface, there isn't a great leap between Win7 and Win8. But users may a completely new interface intimidating and therefore unwilling to upgrade.
The fact is if you don't have a Microsoft tablet or smart phone then the new interface doesn't mean much. The opposite is true, of course -- if buyers embrace Microsoft tablets and smart phones, they'll appreciate a desktop that looks familiar.
The interesting question is whether the thousands of organizations still on Windows XP will jump to Win7 or Win 8.