I work for a large company - ballpark of 15-20 THOUSAND employees, and 90% or more of them in something other than IT.
I imagine most IT people - even old geezers like me - would "pick up" Windows 8 if/when they had to. I've been around long enough to remember how many people absolutely hated XP when it debuted. It's funny how people hung on to their "beloved" XP when Vista and then Windows 7 arrived.
99% of our PCs still run XP, and a rollout of Windows 7 is in the works. The plan is to push out Windows 7 on new PCs all in one sweep - and then five years from now those will all be replaced again. (Maybe by then we'll be ready for Windows 8? Tablets? Something else?)
So let's use some nice round numbers and conservative estimates (meaning "err on the optimistic side") for a year-long migration project to bring everyone to Windows 8:
For the sake of discussion let's assume we're only providing Windows 8 on new PCs - we are not upgrading or doing a wipe-and-reload (except maybe some PC folks doing it in limited test environments).
Let's also make the DRASTIC assumption that EVERY SINGLE CORPORATE APPLICATION IS 100% COMPATIBLE WITH THE NEW OS. (This is a real reach, at least in our company.)
You see, that last one's the clincher, folks. Erring on the conservative side again, let's say we are running 500 different coproate applications, from accounting systems to purchasing, payroll, engineering, and more.
12,000 users have to learn a new OS and the Metro interface: we'll assume that a one-day hands-on class will bring them up to speed, but we'll back that up with a Windows 8 hotline and a team of experts who can help users who need a little more one-on-one tutoring to get up to speed. So there's 96,000 hours that people spend in a classroom and not doing their normal work.
12,000 users spend one day each testing and verifying that their application works with Windows 8.
Approximately 1,000 users receive a new PC each month - so over the course of 12 months the hardware and Windows 8 rollout occurs. Another drastic assumption: they all have the same base image, and they all work perfectly. Department applications have to be installed after the PC is delivered. Each department will have an expert who can install the software, and licensing will not be an issue. Installation and configuration will be straightfoward and quick - meaning this part of the project will be trivial in terms of cost and time. (Yeah, right ...)
12,000 new PCs
96,000 hours spent in training
Let's say 20 full-time (40 hrs/week) project staff, excluding departmental "experts" who install specific applications for departmental users
Are you beginning to see what an effort this is? I'm not including here the time it takes to staff the project , develop the initial project plan, refine it, obtain buy-in from senior management and executives, and to communicate the plan to everyone at an appropriate level.
To think, then, that a major corporation will drop everything and rush to adopt Windows 8 - and even adopt it quickly - is unrealistic. Maybe in a year it might be something to consider, and maybe (optimistically, again) the go-head for a pilot project would be achieved quickly after that, but nothing with such a wide impact to the company is going to happen quickly or easily.
That's not to presume a positive or negative reception of the new OS in the corporate world. I imagine most companies will take a "wait and see" approach and move ahead only after consdering the cost and effort required. Training, testing, and rollout of a major OS upgrade isn't going to be something taken lightly - or done quickly. I'm sure there are a lot of companies out there still using XP (I see a lot of it still, just in casual observations in places I go).
Change takes time in a big organization - even if it's received with a "must have it" attitude, don't expect to suddenly see it spring up everywhere in the business world. Consumers buying a new PC won't likely have a choice, but businesses will, and they're not going to make a move without considering the impact on the company. No good business would be so foolish as to forego the assessment of need, from hardware and software to training. If Windows 8 is widely adopted, you still won't see a lot of it in the business world for several years at best.