With Windows 7 fading into oblivion as an unsupported and vulnerable operating system (OS) to security risks, Windows 10 provides a big opportunity for Microsoft and PC manufacturers in Asia.
According to GlobalData, the market for new PCs in Asia was worth US$39.4 billion in 2019. Of this, India accounted for around 20 per cent at nearly US$7.7 billion.
Despite the impending end of life, an estimated 35 per cent of the PCs in corporate environments in Asia are still running the nine-year-old Windows 7, which, although lower than the 60 per cent or so market share of Windows 10, is still a significant number.
The popularity of Windows 7 among the Asian enterprises isn’t hard to decipher. Windows 7 was released in 2009 and enterprises, which had held back on spending owing to the recession during the late 2000s and early 2010s, did not hesitate to upgrade their systems in the post-recession period. Windows 7’s long run was also owing to lacklustre reception of Windows OS that followed or preceded it.
Windows Vista, which was the OS released before Windows 7, gathered quite a bit of negative reception and reputation owing to the steep hardware requirements. Windows 7’s release helped erode that negativity and restored enterprises’ confidence in the Windows OS ecosystem.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, Windows 7 was followed by Windows 8, which like Windows Vista, was again mired in controversy owing to the changes to the UI, in particular, the Start Menu. Sandwiched between two unpopular Windows releases, it is no surprise that enterprises held on to Windows 7 as long as they did.
With the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft finally provided a viable alternative to enterprises looking to upgrade to the latest version of Windows.
However, some initial confusion around Windows 10’s licensing and the Windows-as-a-service model meant that enterprises were not too keen to move on from an established Windows 7 environment. All that is a thing of the past now; Windows 10 has now evolved into a mature, modern and secure OS.
Not surprisingly, the option for businesses still on Windows 7 is to either upgrade their licences to Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise via Volume Licensing for existing PCs, or to buy new PCs altogether.
With Windows 7 now at an end of life, we expect businesses in Asia to offset some of their needs by purchasing new PCs. This should reflect in a slight bump in PC sales in 2020.
However, most enterprises in the cost-conscious markets of Asia will choose the option of upgrading their existing compatible PCs to Windows 10, as this will provide the cheaper option.
While it remains to be seen how Microsoft eventually handles the release of Windows going forward, for now, it appears that there will be no major releases of Windows beyond Windows 10. As such, Windows 10 provides a clear upgrade path for all businesses in Asia who need to move on from Windows 7.