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Meet Windows 10’s biggest competitor: Windows 7

08 Oct 2014

The most exciting thing about the imminent introduction of Windows 10 is that Microsoft skipped number 9. Early previews of the operating system show a rejiggered interface which brings it closer to the Windows 7 which is known and loved by 53% of the world’s PC users – and that feeds into a suspicion that its major competitor in the corporate space will be a product launched in 2009.

While it might be pretty early to call it, given that Windows 10 is scheduled for launch early next year, it still seems unlikely that there is sufficient oomph to convince corporate users of the need for change. After all, when it comes to business, stability, reliability and familiarity are far more exciting features than slightly changed interfaces.

Business Insider confirms Microsoft’s perennial dominance of the desktop operating system market, with 92% of the world’s computers still running Windows. Despite the rug being pulled out from under XP users, they still account for 24% - cast your mind back to 2001, when this operating system was introduced. It was a very different world back then.

Most impressive is Windows 7’s market share – and most telling is that of Windows 8/8.1, which between them have managed to attract just 12%. More than the failure of 8/8.1 to gain traction, this also demonstrates that touchscreen laptops just weren’t that great an idea. This was a predictable outcome - back in 2012, Techday observed that Microsoft doesn’t do generational change well.

However, it does tend to hit the cherries by refining the generational change in the second iteration; from the travesty of Vista, for example, emerged Windows 7. There is therefore a strong possibility that Windows 10 will take the ideas introduced in Windows 8 and deliver a far more compelling value proposition. As such, while we’re picking Windows 7 for longevity comparable to that of the venerable XP, we’re also placing a bet that Windows 10 will be pretty darned good.

While consumers buying computers off the shelf don’t get much say in the operating system on their shiny new machine, corporations do. And as Heather Wright makes clear, Microsoft is doing a lot to drive Windows 10’s appeal for business. Whether or not business bites (and chomping down always comes at a cost) remains to be seen.

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