The mystery is over! Up until now, we'd had no idea when Windows 8 was actually going to launch, aside from the incredibly vague "second half of 2012." Does that mean now? Or the holiday season? Halloween, perhaps? Now we know: Windows 8 will be hitting store shelves in October. However, that news breaks right as a report digs into the adoption rates of the various Windows 8 Previews and finds them far, far less used than their Windows 7 counterparts.
This morning, Microsoft CFO Tami Reller told a gathering of Microsoft Partners that the company is on track to see the gold version of Windows 8 released to manufacturing in about a month, during the first week of August. OEMs will than have a couple of months to lock in new hardware designs and load the OS onto PCs before the general launch takes places at the end of October, though no firm date was nailed down.
Will the public care when Windows 8 launches, however? PC World dug deeply into data from analytics firm NetApplications and found that in June, 0.18 percent of all PCs that visited the firm's network of websites were running some flavor of Windows 8. NetApplication's numbers show Windows 7's Previews had a 0.75 adoption rate at a similar point in its lifetime.
Comparing those percentages against the estimated total PC installed base puts things into even harder numbers, assuming you're fine with assuming that NetApplication's numbers are representative of the whole: Windows 8 Previews account for roughly 2.9 million PCs worldwide, while around 9.4 million systems were running Windows 7 Previews four months after the final beta launch.
Why do you think there's such a big discrepancy there? Do you think that's a testament more to the public's poor perception of Windows 8, or of Windows 7's rock-solid reputation? People couldn't wait to get away from Vista, after all, while Windows 7 is widely viewed as near nirvana for a traditional desktop UI. Or are people just not as likely to play around with release previews as they used to?