Only two per cent of local councils are plumping for Windows 8 as they migrate off XP, Freedom of Information (FoI) requests sent out by CRN suggest.
Of the 188 councils that responded to our research and said they were migrating off XP, only four – two per cent – said they were upgrading their XP estates to Microsoft's divisive new operating system.
Six per cent said they were upgrading to a combination of Windows 8 and Windows 7, but the vast majority – 92 per cent – said they were migrating to Windows 7.
Since it launched in autumn 2012, Windows 8 has divided users, with some turning up their noses at the lack of a Start button and other familiar features. Microsoft moved to address these concerns with the launch of Windows 8.1 last year, but recent data from Net Applications shows both versions combined have so far managed to grab only a 10 per cent share of the global desktop market.
CRN's investigation, which saw FoI requests fired out to all 433 councils in the UK, also found that – of the 281 that responded – there are currently just 1,126 Windows 8 devices running in local councils, compared with 298,472 running on Windows 7.
The figures tally with the experiences of migration specialist 1E, which told us just 40,450, or five per cent, of the 800,000 PCs it has upgraded off XP have been to Windows 8, and these all came from just two companies.
1E's vice president for products and corporate marketing Paul Parke said the popularity of Windows 7 has somewhat cannibalised Windows 8 upgrades.
"A considerable number of people are not moving to Windows 8 and are going to Windows 7," he said. "The reasons for this are that the [Windows 7] interface is more familiar and I think that the Windows 7 platform has been out long enough for it to be seen as being very stable."
Microsoft strongly defended its latest operating system.
"Windows 8.1 is the most advanced and secure operating system Microsoft has produced to date," said Microsoft UK's David Rodger, commercial lead for the Windows Business Group.
"Our UK partners are deeply engaged with customers and helping them with their migrations from Windows XP. For most customers, including those within the public sector, moving their organisation to Windows 8.1 will be the best choice, but for others that have already started migration from XP, Windows 7 may make sense in the short term.
"A third approach will be to deploy Windows 8.1 in key scenarios, such as for mobile users, side by side with Windows 7. The overall approach will depend on each customer's individual situation, taking into account the size of their organisation, [the] number of existing apps currently in use, data that will need to be migrated and many other factors."
Last week security experts issued councils with a warning, claiming that using XP after the end-of-support date could leave them open to data breaches. Rodger added that Windows 8 is extremely secure.
"[Windows 8.1] contains a robust set of hardware security features and software enhancements that address modern-day threats, keeping both businesses' IP and customer data safe – from credit card details to personal information," he said.
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