In part one of this two-part interview, Erwin Visser, general manager in Microsoft's Windows Commercial team, discussed...
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Windows 8.1 features, security and Microsoft's faster update cycles. Here, he discloses Microsoft's vision to eliminate the need for multiple devices and deliver one Windows 8 mobile device that can do it all.
What is the sweet spot for touch devices? In reality, are we going to get to $300 to $400 ultrabooks that any enterprise IT organization thinks are good enough for their employees, or are those consumer devices?
Erwin Visser: There are two things we want to do here. Clearly, we want to focus on Windows 8.1 to go to the smaller form factors and also support lower-price form factors. In the holiday season at the end of the year, you can expect the price in the market [to be] competitively priced [for] Windows 8 and Windows ARM-based 8-inch screens [devices], and going up from there.
At the same time, we know that we love these devices [points to his Lenovo ThinkPad Helix]. These devices are great, and we see there is a lot of interest in organizations for these, but for a specific subset of users. We also know that the price for those devices have to go into the sweet spot of $600 to $800. You will see in the next month new announcements from our OEM partners for a new generation of touch devices in that sweet spot.
You said the ARM-based Windows RT devices should be coming out. Will they be receiving the same updates as Windows 8.1?
Visser: Almost everything we talked about with Windows 8.1 is almost the same for Windows RT.
And it will be shipped around the same time?
Visser: Yes. The previews will be released the same time, [as well as] the official release.
Do all these companies have the new release in the beta test at this point?
Visser: With Windows 8.1, no, not yet. We have a very select program.
When will that happen?
Visser: With the preview at the end of the month.
Are there specific line-of-business apps that are more relevant than others that will help push enterprise IT to decide on Windows 8.1 or Windows 8 mobile devices?
Visser: Where we see the interest are scenarios in the commercial world where a sales person or adviser is talking to a customer [in an industry] like financial services, retail and health care. We believe you will see a lot of growth there of Windows tablets. It can easily make conversations richer.
[For example], if you walk into a retail store, I could be a car salesperson, and I can help you configure your car on the tablet. Then afterwards, if you make a decision, I can click on a button, and your choice immediately goes into the enterprise resource planning system or goes into my back-office systems.
For us, [we need] to complete everything with the generation of these devices people will use. You don't have to bring a tablet or laptop. You have one device that does it all. For some organizations that use this and have a PC, by buying [a single] device, you can give the user the ability to use the tablet and also a full-size keyboard. We see a lot of interest in this kind of form factor.
Associate site editor Jeremy Stanley contributed to this report.