Microsoft Says Windows 10 Is On 300 Million Active Devices; But In The Enterprise, Partners Sing A Different Tune

Despite Microsoft’s claims that Windows 10 is facing explosive adoption rates partners are telling a different story in the enterprise.

MIcrosoft said Thursday that its new operating system has been installed on 300 million active devices. But according to several Microsoft partners interviewed by CRN, enterprise customers are shying away from opportunities to upgrade to Windows 10 enterprise and Windows 10 Pro.

’Our clients really feel like they have no compelling reasons to upgrade to Windows 10,’ said David Felton, owner of Canaan Technology, a Microsoft partner in Norwalk, Conn. ’And Microsoft hasn’t communicated a real value proposition to us that we can turn around to our customers.’

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Felton’s company works with SMB customers that could now take advantage of Microsoft’s free upgrade opportunities for Windows 10 Pro, yet less than 20 percent of Canaan’s managed clients have actively upgraded to the new OS, released last July.

Businesses' hesitation in upgrading to Windows 10 may come as a surprise; in a blog post Thursday, Microsoft said the operating system is now running on 300 million active devices.

The Redmond, Wash.-based vendor also noted that its free upgrade offer, which extends for Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro (not Windows 10 enterprise), will expire July 29. After that date, customers who don’t get the OS on a new device will need to pay for a full version of Windows 10 Home, at $119, and Windows 10 Pro, at $190.

Partners say many of Windows 10’s features don’t offer a compelling reason for business customers to upgrade, but two bigger issues are ease of use for business environments and underlying compatibility issues with other devices.

Felton said many businesses are task-oriented, and see no value in some of the new features of Windows 10, such as Microsoft Edge.

’We use computers to accomplish a task. The glitz and glamor of Windows 10 is cool for those in tech, but I can’t make an argument to clients if they have Windows 7 about what they’re missing out on,’ said Felton.

Meanwhile, Joe Balsarotti, president of Software To Go, a St. Peters, Mo.-based Microsoft partner, said he has received frequent complaints from his business clients who installed Windows 10 that they were losing productivity because of behind-the-scenes updates. He also noted that drives were being filled with install files without users’ knowledge, and updates were being downloaded automatically were occurring while users were trying to work.

’We have only a handful of small business clients even running [Windows] 10,’ said Balsarotti. ’Some individuals have upgraded, most we had to do wipes and clean installs on as the user had trouble with or after Windows 10 was installed.’

Windows 10 may be popular with consumers, but the operating system still has a ways to go before it surpasses the popular Windows 7 in the PC market.

According to a report by NetMarketShare in April, Windows 7 remains the most used operating system globally with 47.8 percent market share, more than three times that of Windows 10, which has a 15.43 percent share.

Lee Drake, CEO of OS-Cubed, a Rochester, N.Y.-based Microsoft partner , noted that a free upgrade isn’t completely free for businesses due to the labor involved after upgrades to bring users and systems up to speed.

Drake said any business with a domain must consciously choose to migrate by deploying an installation server and a manual process.

’We have seen healthy adoption of Windows 10 among direct to consumer clients, and tepid adoption at businesses,’ he said. ’While encouraging businesses to take advantage of the free upgrade, most have declined due to the additional labor and training involved in making the transition.’

Enterprise Customers Still Opt For Windows 7

Another issue partners see in Windows 10 refreshes is that business customers are declining new Windows 10 OEM devices that have recently hit the market, including such products as the Dell Latitude 13 7000 series or HP Spectre 13 laptops.

Partners said businesses are instead choosing devices that run other operating systems.

For Felton, of Canaan Technology, at least 50 percent of clients buying new computers are declining devices that come with Windows 10, instead opting for devices that still run on Windows 7.

OS-Cubed’s Drake agreed, stressing that Microsoft should remove the option of providing OEM licenses with anything other than Windows 10 on them to push adoption out to corporate entities.

’It doesn’t help any that – other than touch-screen laptops – companies like HP still ship desktop machines with Windows 7 on them,’ said Drake. ’[Microsoft’s] coddling of corporate accounts by continuing to provide old format options is what slows adoption of the more modern and easy-to-maintain OSes like Windows 10.’