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IT getting 'aggressive' about Windows 10 adoption

Microsoft says more than three-quarters of its enterprise customers are already testing Windows 10, which is the most quickly adopted OS in company history.

Businesses have their sights set on Windows 10 adoption, with many planning to migrate off Windows 7 and 8 to take advantage of the new operating system's cross-platform approach.

More than 76% of Microsoft's enterprise customers are testing Windows 10, and 22 million devices already run Windows 10 in enterprise and education sectors. In total, there are now more than 200 million devices running Windows 10, making it the fastest Windows OS to ever reach that mark, Microsoft said in a blog post this week.

"We're seeing pretty aggressive adoption in our customers as well," said Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, a Microsoft partner in Westborough, Mass. "A lot of people started out on their personal machines taking advantage of the free upgrade, and small to midsize businesses also take advantage of that."

The fast growth of Windows 10 comes as no surprise, because it is a direct result of Microsoft giving the OS away for free, said Jack Gold, founder and principal analyst at J. Gold Associates in Northborough, Mass. Businesses will take their time and be cautious before they transition, but ultimately there will be widespread adoption, he said.

"[Microsoft has] done really well with Windows 10," he added. "There are always issues with new operating systems, but people look at this one favorably, and it works well."

Windows 10 adoption skyrockets

Microsoft released Windows 10 in late July. In late August, the company said there were 75 million installs, including 1.5 million enterprise users. Adoption typically takes longer among businesses than among consumers because businesses tend to upgrade large numbers of PCs en masse, often in conjunction with new hardware purchases, Falcon said. Plus, businesses have to go through a pilot period where they test legacy and custom apps with the OS to make sure those applications run without any glitches.

Microsoft has been vocal about its goal of Windows 10 reaching 1 billion devices in its first two years of availability. The enterprise market is certainly contributing to that goal.

"Customers are either migrating to Windows 10 or are in the process of testing it," said Stephen Monteros, vice president of business development and strategic initiatives at SIGMAnet, an Ontario, Calif.-based IT consultancy that specializes in the education market. "Everybody I know is at least testing it. Customers see the value in the investment."

Why upgrade to Windows 10?

All new PCs come with Windows 10 out of the box, so many businesses will choose to upgrade the OS along with their hardware. Some businesses may put off Windows 10 adoption until their current three- to four-year hardware lifecycles end, but others may migrate to the new OS sooner to leave behind the older Windows 7 or the not-so-well-received Windows 8, Falcon said.

"If you are a small business with 100 PCs, you can plan out the migration, and it's straightforward," he said. "When you are a large enterprise with thousands of machines, you have to deal with each department you are working with, and it takes more planning and coordination."

With Windows 10 being more mobile friendly, it makes sense that it has taken off.
Stephen Monterosvice president, SIGMAnet

The high rate of Windows 10 adoption also gives customers incentive to take on other Microsoft products, including Surface devices, Gold said. In addition, Windows 10 has better integration with other Microsoft software and services, such as Skype for Business and Office 365, which could see an uptick in users.

"With Windows 10 being more mobile friendly, it makes sense that it has taken off the way it has," Monteros said. "When Microsoft wrote Windows 10, they wrote it as a mobile Windows platform. Things like the Surface are optimized for Windows 10, and that's the way people want to work."

The new Continuum feature in Windows 10 allows 2-in-1 devices to seamlessly operate as either a mobile device or PC. When in tablet mode, Windows 10 shifts into a more mobile-oriented, touchscreen-friendly user interface. When in PC mode, the OS features the Start menu and has the look and feel of a desktop.

The cross-platform OS approach allows Windows developers to more easily build mobile apps for Windows as well. With a larger ecosystem of universal apps for the platform, Microsoft has seen a boost in Windows Store activity; in December, Windows 10 app store purchases generated more than 4.5 times the revenue per device than Windows 8 app store purchases, the company said.

Ramin Edmond is a news writer with TechTarget's End-User Computing Media Group. Contact him at [email protected].

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