Windows 10 Upgrades May Not Ramp Up Until Next Year

Windows 10 comes out Wednesday, but it might take a couple of years before it gains acceptance among big businesses, experts say.

Two issues will hold back upgrades for a bit. Businesses need to test key applications to make sure they work with the new operating system. And many only recently made expensive switches to Windows 7.

That's true for Northgate González Markets, an Anaheim grocer with about 40 stores and 2,000 computers.

Harrison Lewis, the company's chief information officer since 2011, said there's at least four applications crucial to Northgate that he'll have to test. The work could get underway mid-2016, with a companywide move to Windows 10 from Windows 7 taking place in late 2016 or early 2017. But he's in no rush because Northgate has had Windows 7 for just two years.

"There's not a burning need that there's a problem with Windows 7, and we're pining for something new," Lewis said. "We would have to do an upgrade for many reasons, not just because of Windows 10."

As upgrades ramp up next year into 2017, analysts will be watching to see whether businesses that still hand out corporate phones give Windows-based smartphones a try. There are security benefits from having corporate laptops and phones all running Windows, said J.P. Gownder, vice president and principal analyst at consulting firm Forrester Research.

"The best chance Microsoft has in mobile is going after those old BlackBerry enterprise customers," he said.

Although the transition won't be immediate, Gownder said businesses are bound to step up to Windows 10 because of security improvements and the promise of a steady flow of less cantankerous updates.

"This is going to be very successful in the enterprise space," he said.

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