The public beta for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)'s Windows 8.1 will be available for the first time this week, which means the final release is likely headed for September or October. Earlier this month, the company announced that shareholders as of Aug.15 will receive a dividend of $0.23 per share. With those two developments in mind, now's a great time to discuss why you should ignore the haters, hold on to your Microsoft shares, and watch the value of your portfolio grow alongside the market share of Windows 8.1.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) recently announced that it would terminate life support for Windows XP next April. That support includes everything from bug fixes to security patches, and XP's already been granted a reprieve before, so it's not likely to happen again. This makes IT pros nervous, because using an operating system that doesn't receive regular security updates is a dealbreaker when it comes to corporate networks.
I know what you're thinking. “So what? Who in their right mind would use an operating system from 2001?” You should sit down or at least look both ways before reading on. NetMarketShare data shows that more than a third of computers run on XP. Right now. Not 13 years ago when it was released. Right now.
WebMonkey wrote a great article on the impending doom of Windows XP, including the same graphic you see above. The only difference is that its snapshot is from April. In just two months, the numbers have changed. Most IT industry folks think users will pick Windows 7 over Windows 8, but that doesn't explain the change. If you look closely, the percentage point that was lost by XP, was picked up by Windows 8, not 7. This is likely because manufacturers are preinstalling Windows 8 on consumer machines. As older machines are replaced with newer ones, XP's market share declines.
Just before the economy started to turn south, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) released a dud of an OS called Windows Vista. Many corporate customers decided to wait for something better. Strike one.
Then the economy turned downward, and those same corporate customers tightened their belts. When Windows 7 came out in 2009, no one was buying anything. While market share has grown significantly since then, corporate sales are still slower than expected. Strike two.
Windows 8 was born into a slightly better market this January, but had the disadvantage of being very different from previous version of the OS. Ball one ... which brings us to the present and the release of the Windows 8.1 public beta.