Microsoft launched Windows 8 last week with much hype and the hope that the latest iteration of its flagship operating system would fend off competition from rivals Google and Apple. Although it might be early days yet, initial indications suggest that Indian enterprises aren’t exactly queuing up for the new product.
Among them are retailer Future Group and India’s second-largest private sector lender HDFC Bank, which will adopt the new platform only if it offers significant advantages over the previous versions-Windows XP and Windows 7.
“There is no plan to upgrade overnight,” said Parakh Dave, Future Group’s chief information officer. “We will assess the platform to find out if it can offer any significant business benefits. We will have to wait and see.”
Windows 8 is Microsoft’s big push to regain lost ground from Google’s Android-a runaway success among smartphones users-and Apple’s iOS operating system, which fuels the iPad and iPhone. It is also the first time that Microsoft has incorporated mobility and touch capability into its Windows operating system.
Although India is not a large market for Microsoft, it still contributes about a billion dollars (Rs 5,400 crore) to the company’s annual revenues, possibly a reason why the Redmond, Washington-based firm has been offering promotional pricing to induce users to switch to its new product.
Microsoft India’s Managing Director Sanket Akerkar said corporations, including Essar Group and Bangalore International Airport, are testing the new platform and feedback was positive.
“The response has been encouraging as they have found Windows 8 to be great for their businesses due to compatibility of their existing Windows 7 applications that work seamlessly with Windows 8,” he said. “However, as is the case with any large-scale technology roll-out, full-scale deployment across organisations will be a phased process.” Microsoft expects the pace of adoption to be rapid over the next several weeks.
Globally, Microsoft enjoys a 70% market share in operating systems used in desktops. But its presence in the smartphone and tablet space has been minimal. Almost 85% of all smartphones sold globally have the Android or iOS, according to latest data from research firm IDC.
“There is a bit of fatigue. While Windows 7 was a great, Vista was a clear failure. Users would want to observe before they decide,” said Akhilesh Tuteja, executive director and head of IT advisory at consultancy firm KPMG, referring to the earlier iterations of Windows.
TVS Motor said it will adopt Windows 8 only if it is “mission critical.”
“We will test it, but may actually use it only if it is unavoidable,” said TG Dhandapani, CIO of TVS Motor.
Kiran Kumar, senior market analyst at IDC India, said he expects migration to Windows 8 to be slower. “However, moving forward, Windows XP is expected to be officially discontinued in 2014, which could possibly trigger the chances of migration to the new platform.”
Lender HDFC Bank said it would look at the cost of adoption. “In the end, our decision would depend on pricing,” said Anil Jaggia, its CIO.
While Manish Choksi, CIO at Asian Paints, counted himself among the fence-sitters, India’s second-ranked information technology services firm Infosys said its clients in India were intrigued by the product.