526 - Windows 10? Beware!

Everyone in the PC Industry (except Apple) is rooting for Win10 (Windows 10) to be a roaring success. Money talks, so nearly everything written, broadcast or blogged will tout the virtues of Windows 10. How much money Win10 sales generate for PC manufacturers, distributors and retailers will depend upon how good a job they do convincing retail buyers that Win10 is a good thing. Enterprise (big business) buyers will ignore the hype and continue to buy Win7 PCs just as they have for the past six years.

Last week Microsoft acknowledged its failure to gain traction in the tablet and smart sector when it announced the layoff of eight thousand employees and an eight billion dollar write down linked to its 2013 purchase of Nokia’s smart phone and tablet business. Microsoft will continue to produce some tablets and smart phones mainly as “Technology Flagships” for promoting the “Microsoft ecosystem.” These products will not compete seriously with potential Windows OS customers like Samsung, ASUS, and Lenovo.  The “Microsoft ecosystem” is the entire range of services, applications, OS and devices marketed by Microsoft. 

As a result of their failure to establish a viable foothold in mobile hardware and OS coupled with the fact that stagnant PC sales are drying up their main revenue source, Microsoft needed a new revenue plan. Win10 is critical to that plan. The Microsoft ecosystem” anchored by Win10 will spearhead its new focus on generating revenue from the sale of advertising, services and applications. Win10 is specifically designed for that purpose. 

Win10 is unlike any previous Microsoft OS in that Microsoft has removed the user option to refuse or select updates and upgrades. That means that Microsoft is in complete control of your Win10 PC. Some enterprise versions will allow corporate users of Win10 to control the OS, but that option is not for you.  Having Microsoft control your OS at a time when they are feverishly seeking new ways to pile up revenue from services, applications and advertising is not a comforting thought.

The retail debut of Win10 PCs this summer will be complicated by the fact that there are huge (2-4 months) inventories of unsold Win8 PCs in retail and distribution warehouses. We’ve already seen some spectacular pricing as retailers try to dump these unpopular PCs. The Win10 free upgrade offer has done little to stimulate Win8 PC sales. Many still remember the regrets associated with accepting the “free” upgrades from XP to Vista and from Win7 to Win8. An “upgrade” from Win8 to Win10 would be jumping from a bad OS to an unproven one, not a compelling option. An “upgrade” from Win7 to Win10 would be plain foolish. 

Our recommendation for business and home PC shoppers is to do what the “big boys” do. Make the risk free decision to stay with Win7 PCs.  Win7 is used on over 60% of the World’s PCs and will be the dominant PC OS for several years. In the event that it ever becomes advantageous to “upgrade” to Win10, you can do it. It will always be a simple and free or low cost “upgrade,” far beyond 2016. 

At The Computer Factory we will keep building and selling new Win7 Home and Pro desktop and notebook PCs as long as our home and business users need them. We will also continue upgrading Windows XP and Vista notebook and desktop PCs to Win7. We’ve installed Win7 on dozens of PCs born with Win8 and we will no doubt soon be providing that service for Win10 PCs. Save yourself the extra expense and stay with Win 7.

Next week we’ll discuss the latest options in desktop and notebook PCs for business, home and school.