Do consumers want the newly "reinvented" Windows? A major new poll finds that many are not that interested.
The poll, by The Associated Press and GfK, reported that 52 percent of respondents have not even heard of the new release. Of those who have heard at least something, 61 percent said they had little or no interest in buying a new laptop or desktop with the upgraded OS. Only 35 percent of those who heard about Windows 8 -- or about 17 percent of the total -- considered it an improvement over the existing platform.
Aside from unfamiliarity with the new OS, a key finding of the poll validates many industry observers' question about the upgrading motive -- why?
'What is Return?'
The AP cited a Connecticut engineer who had seen Windows 8. "Windows 7 does everything I want to," he said about the previous OS, released in 2009. He also questioned whether there was "a return on my investment" in spending the time to learn a new interface and functions.
Although Microsoft generally upgrades its operating system every two or three years, Windows 8 features a dramatically different user interface option, the tiles-based UI formerly known as Metro, and it offers a variety of different functions. It also is designed to help Microsoft get a footing in the rapidly growing tablet market, in part through the release of the company's own tablet, Surface.
But the AP poll found that 69 percent of respondents had little or no interest in getting a Surface tablet. The poll, which surveyed about 1,200 adults in the U.S., comes just as the technology giant's $1 billion marketing campaign gets under way.
'Pretty Satisfied' with 7
While the poll found tepid interest now for the new Windows, it verified Windows' position as the overwhelmingly dominant OS in homes and businesses. Of respondents who had personal computers in their homes, 80 percent used some version of Windows, compared with 12 percent using Apple's OS.
The AP survey reflects the overall sentiments of a recent Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC) survey of 500 consumer and business respondents in September. While that was weeks before the formal launch last Thursday, Windows 8 had been previewed by Microsoft and profiled by the press for months prior to the survey.
ITIC similarly found relatively weak interest in migrating to the Windows 8. Forty-nine percent of respondents said they would not be moving to the new OS, 9 percent said they would and 42 percent were undecided. The major reason for not moving to version 8 for 60 percent of respondents was because there was "no compelling business reason."
ITIC analyst Laura DiDio noted that many respondents were "pretty satisfied with Windows 7, or they just got a Windows 7 machine." She suggested that Microsoft may "spark some interest" with their inexpensive upgrade offer, and added that the level of interest will likely increase once holiday shoppers buy new machines with Windows 8 installed.