Rather than adopt Windows 8, companies with enterprise agreements will simply downgrade newly-purchased PCs to Windows 7, Silver and Cherry agreed.
"Those who have finished a Windows 7 rollout will probably want to stay homogenous," said Cherry.
Their expectations about Windows 8 and downgrades are due in no small part to factors outside the operating system's control.
Because of Vista's failure to take hold, Windows XP had an unexpected long life. Then when Windows 7 launched, the pent-up demand for new machines, the looming 2014 end of support for XP, and positive reviews for Windows 7 kick-started migrations of the latter in 2010.
And because companies are loath to change, what with the expense that entails, they're likely to stick with Windows 7 for the foreseeable future. "Windows 7 will have long legs. It will be another XP." Cherry said, referring to the 2001 edition's longevity.
It doesn't help that Windows 8 is a dramatic departure from its predecessors: The so-called "Modern" interface -- touch-first, tile-based -- has put off early users, and as Silver noted, it's doubtful enterprises will jump to it on traditional, non-touch PCs. "The biggest problem enterprises will have with Windows 8 is the Metro interface," said Silver, using the now-abandoned label for the touch-and-tile environment.
Not all hardware will get the downgrade treatment. Both Cherry and Silver envision pockets of Windows 8 within companies, such as developers or workers with new touch devices, whether Windows 8-powered tablets or so-called "convertibles," hybrid hardware that melds tablet and notebook components.
Enterprises may also see an uptick in Windows 8 if employees purchase their own tablets, convertibles or traditional PCs, then demand that they be able to use them at work or connect to corporate resources from home or the road.
The bring-your-own device (BYOD) move may, in fact, be a boon to Windows 8's acceptance, said Cherry.
"If Windows 8 is really being used a lot [by employees], can you say that you're a BYOD firm if Windows 8 isn't on the eligible devices list?" Cherry asked. "This is one way Windows 8 might get on that list quickly."
Absent Silver's take on what a consumer move to downgrade would mean for Windows 8's reputation, neither analyst had prognostications about how the upgrade will play out among that audience, or in small businesses that don't have enterprise or Software Assurance agreements with Microsoft.
Those users are on their own, and by the downgrade rights Microsoft has set with the OEM edition of Windows 8 Pro, are responsible for obtaining the installation media for an older operating system.