Local CIOs and IT managers have chosen to largely ignore Windows 8 operating system upgrades in favour of Windows 7, according to IDC Australia and New Zealand market analyst Amy Cheah.
Cheah told CIO Australia that enterprises in Q4 of 2012 were for the most part "indifferent" to Windows 8.
"Enterprise interest in migrating their PC fleets to Windows 8 is still 18 to 24 months away," she said.
Cheah warned that it was highly unlikely enterprise uptake of Windows 8 PCs would pick up as soon as Q1 of 2013 because CIOs and IT decision makers were concentrating on migrating to Windows 7 before Windows XP support ended.
However, corporate tablets running Windows 8 may see greater traction this year as the enterprise appetite for tablets continue to grow, especially among executives, she said.
"Some organisations are interested in taking on Windows 8 tablets instead of migrating their existing fleets from Windows XP or 7 to Windows 8."
According to Cheah, even Microsoft's extensive enterprise licensing agreements in Australia would not help the vendor due to the complexity of a migration to Windows 8.
"It not only involves hardware upgrades but also ensuring compatibility of enterprise applications," she said.
"At this stage, unless an enterprise organisation is planning to replace tablets for PCs, its value proposition is not convincing enough for a full scale migration."
Cheah added that the lack of touch optimised Windows 8 hardware was a contributing factor to sluggish sales during Q4 of 2012. Most of the new notebooks released in Q4 were non-touch capable as touch panel supply was constrained, she said.
"This undermines the user experience and value proposition of Windows 8."
However, Cheah added that there will be more touch capable tablets and hybrid designs arriving in 2013.
Microsoft also faced increased competition from Apple and Samsung in the enterprise space.
"Both vendors will no doubt capitalise on the bring-your-own-device [BYOD] momentum, leveraging on their consumer presence to penetrate into the enterprise space," she said.
"But this is a different context altogether as operating system migration is driven by an organisational need rather than brand preference. "
A Dell A/NZ spokesman said the vendor was in a quiet period leading up to its earnings announcement in February 2013 and could not provide sales figures for the XPS12 laptop or Latitude 10 tablet which run on Windows 8.
HP Australia, who also launched Windows 8 devices, was contacted for comment but declined to take part.
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