NEW DELHI :
Microsoft is finally pulling the plug on Windows 7. Post 14 January, the nine-year-old operating system for laptop and desktop PCs will not receive any support, including security updates, leaving users exposed to cybersecurity risks. Microsoft has urged Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 10.
This will give a huge boost to PC business in Asia as 35% of the enterprise PCs in Asia are still running on Windows 7, as per GlobalData, a UK-based data and analytics firm.
Businesses which are still holding on to Windows 7 will have to either upgrade their licenses to Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise via Volume Licensing for existing PCs, or to buy new PCs altogether.
“We expect businesses in Asia to offset some of their needs by purchasing new PCs. This should reflect in a slight bump in PC sales in 2020. However, most enterprises in the cost-conscious markets of Asia will choose the more cost effective option of upgrading their existing compatible PCs to Windows 10," Nishant Singh, head of technology and telecoms data at GlobalData, said in a press statement.
The reports further points out that market for new PCs in Asia was worth $39.4 billion in 2019 and India accounted for around 20% for it.
"This will not lead to any business disruption as most big companies which are more pro-active about security have already upgraded to Windows 10. Many of the SMBs in sectors that are less susceptible to attacks are yet to upgrade, but we expect that to happen over the course of the next few quarters. We have seen Microsoft work pro-actively with partners, running campaigns and educating them on the benefits of the upgrade," said Jaipal Singh, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices at IDC India.
Global Data pegs Windows 10 current market share in Asia at around 60%. Globally, market share of Windows 10 was 47.65%, while Windows 7 was 32.74%, as on December 2019, as per Netmarketshare.
Windows 7 was followed by Windows 8 and 8.1, but they never got the same response due to the drastic changes in the UI to make the new OS user friendly for touchscreen based 2-in-1 laptops. The initial absence of Start Menu also drew lot of flak.
According to Netmarketshare, Windows 8.1’s global market share in 2019 was 4.09%.
Singh rues, unfortunately for Microsoft, Windows 7 was followed by Windows 8, which like Windows Vista, was again mired in controversy. Sandwiched between two unpopular Windows releases, it is no surprise that enterprises held on to Windows 7 as long as they did. Some initial confusion around Windows 10’s licensing and the Windows-as-a-service model also discouraged enterprises to move on from an established Windows 7 environment.
In addition to older operating systems, SMBs in India are also known to be using older PCs to save cost. A December study, commissioned by Microsoft and carried out by market research firm TechAisle, found that 43% SMBs in India still own PCs that are more than four years old and are running older operating systems. According to the report, old PCs are 3.8 times more likely to need repairs, resulting in 132 hours of productive time lost.
Mahesh Makhija, partner and leader, digital and emerging technology, EY India warned, “Any amount that a company can save by compromising on employee laptops is not money worth saving. Employees waste weeks of productive time every year due to old, under-powered PC’s, which not only slow down the overall pace of work in a business but cause significant employee frustration as well."