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Microsoft Windows 8: an operating system for the enterprise?

Windows 8 is not just for consumers, claims Microsoft

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No compromise business tablet

Visser said that, despite Microsoft's obvious attempt to appeal to consumers and tap into the BYOD trend, Windows 8 is very much an enterprise-grade operating system that bring your personal life and business life together on one device.

“We are making no compromises to the role that enterprise IT plays. We continue to support all the security requirements that they have,” he said.

“We want to help them take down management costs of mobile devices, so that they can invest more in areas that are important for their innovation, and we also want to make sure that they can support the compliance rules that third parties and governments ask from them.”

He said that all Windows 7 apps that organisations are running today can also run on Windows 8, so the investments that they have made over the last years will not be wasted. The infrastructure that Microsoft customers are using today is also compatible with Windows 8, so they can start bringing in Windows 8 side by side with Windows 7 without making significant infrastructure investments.

Moreover, Windows 8 includes the option for users to switch from the tile-based user interface back to a more traditional Windows 7 desktop interface.

This means that a salesman could take a Windows 8 tablet out on the road with him and use the “Metro” interface in meetings with clients, and then dock the tablet with a keyboard when he gets back to the office and have his full productivity environment with my desktop apps available on the same device.

While Windows 8 is clearly an attractive option for enterprise customers using tablets and portable touchscreen devices, the business proposition for Windows 8 on desktop PCs is less clear.

When Techworld asked if there was a role for Windows 8 on the desktop, Visser said that Windows 8 is the best Windows version out there, so whether it is used on desktops, laptops or tablets it is still a worthwhile investment.

“Of course there's experiences with Windows 8 that come to life with touch that you will not have if you don't have touch, but still if you look at it from a fundamentals perspective – boot time, performance, security, manageability – all these aspects are improved with Windows 8, and even if you don't have a touch-based device, there is significant value in Windows 8,” he said.

BT, which has been using Windows 8 as part of an early adopters programme, said that the best experience on Windows 8 is on a brand new device, running an SSD, with a touchscreen, but Windows 8 runs well on other devices and is a better experience than Windows 7.

Visser admitted that a lot of customers will bring in Windows 8 through new devices, rather than upgrading old hardware, but said that the true was same with Windows 7.

“We're very bullish about the opportunity for enterprises with Windows 8. Some customers will deploy end to end, some will just start with specific scenarios, and for a significant amount of customers that will be the entry point,” he said.


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