With Windows XP’s end-of-life date of April 8, 2014, rapidly approaching, most IT shops are still too focused on migrating to Windows 7 to bother with Windows 8 anytime soon, if at all.

To be reasonably considered an enterprise standard, approximately half of company-issued PCs must run Windows 8 by the time Windows v.next hits the shelves. Windows 7 hit that mark. However, Forrester doesn’t believe that Windows 8 will become the next commercial standard because:

  • Early enterprise interest in Windows 8 is half that of Windows 7 prior to its release.
  • IT decision-makers don’t yet see the new Windows experience as an improvement.
  • IT perceives iOS as the preferred OS for tablets.
  • Interest in iOS, Android, and Mac OS X will remain high, particularly among influential employees.
  • Windows 8 doesn’t offer firms enough savings in operations to make it a top priority.

In sharp contrast to IT interest, however, employee interest in Windows 8 is very high. Forrester’s Forrsights Workforce Employee Survey, Q4 2012 of nearly 10,000 global workers reveals that 38% of employees would prefer to use Windows 8 on their work computers, compared with 35% for Windows 7. Looking at what they would prefer to use on a work tablet, 20% say Windows 8 versus 26% for Apple iOS.

What it means: IT won’t set Windows 8 as a standard, but that won’t stop workers from using it. IT organizations should prepare for a strong initial push to formally support Windows 8 or permit employee-owned Windows 8 devices.

Forrester clients can access the full report here.