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Windows 11 rollout begins as industry predicts slow business uptake

Microsoft's long-awaited OS refresh is here, but analysts expect many will wait until next year to upgrade

Microsoft has officially launched Windows 11, with the operating system's phased rollout kicking off on 5 October. 

The release has been long anticipated by consumers and tech industry professionals alike, with the update bringing a number of new features such as a redesigned Start menu, Microsoft Teams integration, and the promise of faster future updates. 

Windows chief product officer Panos Panay, who was promoted to executive vice president in August, announced the launch on Windows Blogs and thanked Microsoft’s partners for their support.

“We are grateful to our entire ecosystem of partners who have played important roles in helping us prepare to get Windows 11 into the hands of our customers around the world. From OEM and app partners, to silicon, to retail, to our Windows Insiders, a launch of this global scale could not be achieved without them,” he said.

“On behalf of the entire team, we are pumped to bring you Windows 11, the Windows that brings you closer to what you love. We look forward to seeing the dreams and ideas you bring to life with Windows 11. This is just the beginning,” he added.

The tech industry was quick to share its thoughts on the launch, and many believe Windows 11 will fail to make a significant impact, with business uptake likely to be slow.

Gartner senior research director Ranjit Atwal, for example, told IT Pro that he is not expecting the launch to create “significant change” in the wider PC market. Many businesses will likely wait until next year to upgrade to Windows 11, he added, due to uncertainty towards the availability and compatibility of different apps.

Scott Riley, director of Cloud Nexus, a security provider and gold Microsoft Partner, told IT Pro, also believes that business uptake of the new operating system will be slow. When asked about whether users should upgrade today, he said: “The answer is no, Windows 10 is still fully supported by Microsoft until October 2025 so there is no urgency to make the leap,” he added.

Riley added that the operating system "feels like a facelift rather than a complete change to Windows 10”, and noted that Microsoft's stringent system requirements could be another factor in users' reluctance to upgrade immediately. 

“There are a lot of changes under the hood, and the minimum requirements have increased to focus on security for home and business devices,' he said. "Windows 11 now requires a processor which supports security features which were only introduced into Intel and AMD chips following the Spectre and Meltdown attacks in 2018," he said.

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"As such this means that an awful lot of computers produced in 2018 and earlier will not be supported on Windows 11."

However, Mahadeva Bisappa, principal architect at the Microsoft Partner and digital transformation consultancy, SPR, told IT Pro that the operating system has clearly been designed for the distributed workforce.

“Windows 11 comes out at a time when distributed remote work has become a norm”, she said, adding that its features are tailored to meeting “those remote working needs”.

“This includes all the new user interface improvements, Microsoft Teams for integrated communication and collaboration via text, audio and video modes across devices, and being able to use Windows 11 from any device or operating system,” he said. 

Bisappa also highlighted Windows 11’s security features, saying that Microsoft has been “doing a tremendous job of updating the Windows operating system regularly to address security issues and help users be more productive and secure”.

If you're ready to make the team, a guide on how to install Windows 11 is available here.

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