By all accounts, traction for Windows 8 (and 8.1) in the enterprise has been non-existent. Any growth has mainly been in the mobile sector where companies are using it on tablets to enable a more portable Windows environment for specific use cases where a laptop is even too cumbersome. TileWorld applications haven’t caught on, either, with very few being developed for in-house line of business purposes.
The biggest reason for this, even more so than the fact that so much changes in the UI, is that nobody has any real incentive to move from Windows 7. Almost everyone has moved off of XP, and the only reason many companies did that was because the OS that they love so much is going to lose support. Windows 7 support doesn’t end until January 14, 2020 (a Tuesday, if you’re planning a party), so we’re pretty much fine waiting until then.
On a related note, organizations are currently warming up to trend of using Windows Server as a VDI OS to avoid all the licensing complexities associated with using Windows client OSes for VDI. Doing so is like delivering 1:1 RDSH servers, and it means that your only required user license is a Remote Desktop CAL. You don’t have to worry about a VDA license for devices, SA for primary client devices, which devices are corporate-owned, which are used on company property, or any of that crap. Sure, you need to have the Datacenter platform license for Windows, but when you add it all up, you’re looking at a substantial reduction in cost and headaches.
DaaS providers are going this route, too, since there’s no SPLA license for Windows client OSes. So when you buy a persistent desktop solution from a DaaS provider for $35/mo per user, you’re probably getting a Windows Server 2008 R2 desktop dressed up to look like a Windows 7 machine. If you want to actually run Windows 7, you’re going to pay the provider about the same amount of money, but you’ll also have to go buy all your VDA licenses on top of that.
Microsoft almost certainly sees this, and I’m sure it drives them nuts. (Although companies are still paying them money even though they’re running Windows 7, so maybe not?) They have a billion dollar business built around a product that nobody wants to move to, not even in enterprises where the vast majority of applications are Windows applications! But what if there was something that could sweeten the pot? What if Microsoft finally caved to our demands (really, just requests, since we have no bargaining power), fixed VDA, and added SPLA licensing for Windows?
There have been all sorts of calls to action for Microsoft to add SPLA and #FixVDA, but they’ve fallen on deaf ears. So the question is, what if Microsoft met us halfway? What if they gave us a SPLA and “fixed” VDA for Windows 8 ONLY? Would that be enough to get us to move to Windows 8?
The tables would be turned. It would actually be cheaper to deploy Windows 8 as a VDI OS than it would be for Windows 7. Could you put up with the pains of that migration then? Of course as IT people, we’re probably still resistant to the prospect of using Windows 8 because we know what a hassle it will be when dealing with users, but when the IT Director or CIO gets a hold of the information that it could actually save money, it might land on your plate anyway.
For Microsoft, they’d finally have a legitimate reason for companies to move to Windows 8, not to mention a way to dissuade people from using RDSH in a way that it was probably not intended to be used (although it’s still totally legit to use it in the 1:1 VDI way). Maybe they just don’t care, and they’re content to focus on all things cloud for the foreseeable future.
What do you think...could it work?