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Why Windows 10 Needs New PCs Not Just Upgrades

April 3rd, 2016

At Build 2016, Microsoft announced Windows 10 had reached 270m users, certainly an impressive number. Not much detail was given as to how that number splits between new hardware and software upgrades but it is safe to assume the majority of the volume is still coming from the latter.

While Microsoft stated it is fine with some of those users having 5-year-old PCs, a clear response to Phil Schiller’s recent comment on the topic during Apple’s last launch event, we strongly believe Microsoft should actually be concerned about the issue. Here is why.

We asked consumers in the US what activities they perform on their desktop or notebook. We also asked them how long they’d had their device. As you can clearly see, users with older PCs are less engaged with them.
We asked consumers in the US what activities they perform on their desktop or notebook. We also asked them how long they had their device for. As you can clearly see, users with older PCs are less engaged with them.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 9.06.05 PM

Users with a computer one year older or less are more engaged across activities than users with older computers. The exceptions come in activities linked to file and content management, which are more traditionally associated with the PC.

Lower engagement with older PCs has several ramifications that should concern Microsoft and its partners. When it comes to manufacturers, it is quite clear lower engagement will negatively impact the need for users to upgrade their PC. It is quite simple: if you do not use something often enough to make it a necessary item, you do not think about keeping it up to date. A whopping 61% of desktop and notebooks owners with devices older than 5 years have no plans to upgrade in the next 12 months. This is counter intuitive as you expect someone with a device that old would be looking to upgrade.

Lower engagement with the PC will also impact the way users experience Windows 10. While they might upgrade to Windows 10 (the upgrade is free after all if they have kept their software up to date), they might not be curious enough to experiment and discover. This is especially true when it comes to Universal Windows apps. In return, this will create less stickiness to the OS and lower even more the need to upgrade to new form factors like 2-in-1s.

While new and sexy hardware might tempt some of those 61% naysayers, Microsoft needs to find a way to make these users reconnect with their PC so they feel the limitations their hardware has on their desire to take full advantage of what Windows 10 has to offer.

Carolina Milanesi

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