Contrary to initial perceptions of slow adoption, Windows 11 is making significant headway, positioning itself as a promising transition for Microsoft’s current system.
The Windows 11 operating system has already found its way onto over 400 million devices and is projected to surpass half a billion installations by early 2024, as reported by Windows Central.
Divergent Rollout Strategies:
Windows Central’s report unveiled Microsoft’s distinctive approach in launching Windows 11, setting it apart from the rollout of previous systems like Windows 10. This divergence in strategy has played a pivotal role in the differing adoption rates.
With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft took a stringent approach, offering it as a free update for all Windows 8.1 and most Windows 7 devices, with a one-year time limit. This incentivized users to swiftly transition from older systems or risk missing out on the free Windows 10 upgrade. Microsoft also employed strategies to encourage users running legacy versions, including Windows 7 and Windows 8, to update.
In contrast, Windows 11’s strategy was more lenient, lacking any time constraints. Instead of pushing for a broad spectrum of devices to update, Microsoft narrowed down the list of compatible PCs to those released in 2018 and later. These devices must also include a trusted platform module (TPM), a feature only supported by newer Intel and AMD processors. This move immediately excluded support for Windows 7 and 8 PCs and certain older Windows 10 models, potentially limiting the initial system adoption. However, this approach might have been Microsoft’s intended strategy all along. Even if some devices no longer qualify for updates, most Windows PCs should be capable of transitioning.
Windows 11’s Progress:
Microsoft aimed to encourage users to upgrade soon after the public release of Windows 11 in October 2021, and it has taken approximately two years to reach 400 million monthly active devices. In contrast, Windows 10 achieved this milestone in less than a year and reached 1 billion users by early 2020. Microsoft deems Windows 11 a success as it has met recent milestones ahead of schedule, with internal data indicating positive trends in user satisfaction, despite some contrasting online commentary.
Business users have followed a similar trajectory in upgrading to Windows 11. Researchers in the enterprise sector have noted that many organizations transitioning to Windows 11 are doing so through the purchase of new devices rather than upgrading existing hardware.
According to IT asset management group Lansweeper, Windows 11 adoption stood at 8.35% as of October 2023, a slight increase from the 5.74% observed in September 2022. Researchers suggest that more companies should transition to Windows 11, as their audit of 33 million devices revealed that a significant majority, 67.5% of workstations, meet the CPU, RAM, and TPM requirements for automatic Windows 11 updates.
Currently, Windows 11 finds itself between the continued popularity of Windows 10 and the anticipation of Windows 12. Windows 10 still accounts for approximately 71.6% of desktop users, while Windows 11 holds 23.6%, according to Statcounter.
In the business sector, Windows 10 runs on a substantial 80.5% of devices. Nonetheless, Microsoft is gradually phasing out support for this version, with its end-of-life phase set for October 14, 2025.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is gearing up for its 2024 software release, expected to be named Windows 12 and currently codenamed Germanium. The system is likely to focus on AI and cloud features, though details regarding Microsoft’s rollout strategy for this new system are yet to be revealed.