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Microsoft's latest 'bet the farm' operating system wager debuts

Windows 8 will finally launch this week, but whether IT pros embrace it remains to be seen.

Microsoft will officially launch Windows 8 this week and, while many experts have questioned whether the new system provides enough meat to attract IT pros, even if it falls flat, iterations of Microsoft's iconic system will be around for years to come.

In fact, despite new form factors such as tablets and smartphones eclipsing Windows dominance in the personal devices category, a new study by Forrester Research Inc. showed that while those new markets are where the money is, Microsoft will continue to rule corporate desktops.

Microsoft Windows' share of all personal devices shrunk to 30% in 2012, according to the report titled Windows: The Next Five Years. That number conglomerates PCs, tablets and phones into a single category called personal devices -- but it's apparently not as dire as it looks, at least in the short- and mid-term.

"In 2016, Microsoft will retain almost 90% of the projected 370+ million PCs sold," the report said, adding that PC sales are still growing overall.

Indeed, some observers say it's more appropriate to view Windows 8 as two separate systems.

"Windows 8 is the new version of Windows for x86 [processors]," said Michael Cherry, research vice president for operating systems at analyst firm Directions on Microsoft in Kirkland, Wash.

Meanwhile, Windows RT is built to run on ARM processors found in most smartphones and tablets, which means it does not support x86 legacy applications, although Microsoft is making a custom version of Office available pre-installed on ARM devices, such as the new Microsoft Surface.

"With RT, we're talking about a new member of the Windows family," Cherry said.

That doesn't eliminate the continuing importance of PCs, but it does mean that competition will still be stiff for Windows 8, with nearly half of all PCs in use today running on the obsolete 11-year-old Windows XP and the rest mostly running Windows 7. The question is whether or not Windows 8 will provide enough new and enhanced features to entice enterprise IT departments to upgrade.

Still, despite skepticism in many circles, not all users think Windows 8 and Windows RT will flop.

"Microsoft has done so much focus group testing over the past two years that the chance of Windows 8 flaming out is close to zero," said Mark Eisenberg, director at enterprise application and cloud integration firm Fino Consulting based in New York City.

"Beyond that, there's not a whole lot to say except the proof is in the pudding ... after all, everybody hated XP when it first came out," Eisenberg said.

Time will tell.

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Do you have plans to deploy Windows 8 in your enterprise?
significant hdwr cost to upgrade
Vendor apps are not yet compatible.
Since the User Experience is so different, we will stay with Win7 and check on further evolution of Win8 or next OS.
Because we are still deploying Windows 7
I think while the individual components of the "bet" are perhaps viable as "stand alone" products, the composite of Windows Surface RT which doesn't run windows apps until later same looking thing will have "real" processor, but looks same), Windows Phone, and Microsoft App store, new Xbox, yada, yada, WAY over extended for a typically single release at a time company. Seems like desperate attempt to become viable again. Apple and google are really beating Microsoft up lately, and with the news that Valve is either building a console, or "yikes" going to partner with apple should be making Redmond more than sweat. Microsoft has been at its best as a market dominant entity, really remains to be seen if they can truly innovate and compete. I'd like to say I thought they could, but if I did, I'd be lying.
We are a software company that makes applications for the Windows platform. We have to be an early adopter of Windows 8 in order to properly support the platform.
I think windows 8 is not meant for the enterprise where as it is mostly for the consumer or personal devices. The strong point and new thing in windows 8 is Metro UI which is meant to be working well with the Touch Screen Devices. Enterprise need to invest more on the new hardware devices with the tocuh screen capability to make full use of Metro UI. How about the integration of application used in previous O/S like Windows 7 along with the Metro UI and Touch screen capability. More over since Windows 7 is only presently tested out for the legacy applications that would suffice and windows 8 is not the choice for the enterprise.
just do not want to keep changing when u get used to one system
Because of Start button, no Aero, tiles that cannot be switched off, two IE's that have separte settings... We'll wait till the dust settles.
A square peg into a round hole for office productivity users.

Tablets are great for Internet Browsing, games and mini apps, but not for REAL applications.
problem with training end users
Enterprise is not a tablet or phone. MS have gone vista on us again. Windows 9 might be back to basics
Too different. Introducing a new learning curve when productivity is important. Abolishing the Start button is a disaster.
If you are using a mouse and keyboard Win 8 is horrible to use. Then there is the store that doesn't work either. Big thumbs down from me!
I support Windows O/S's for my clients and I make it by business to know the operating systems whether I like them or not. I plan to install a machine with Win8 this weekend and will take it from there. It seems most people with negative comment tend to post a response, but from the reading and research that I've done, Windows in whatever form is still the dominant OS for desktop PC's. Most people just want to "get on and do". Some people learn other operating systems and accomplish that - kudo's to them - 'One man's meat is another man's poison' Personally I praise Microsoft for trying to please the app hungry users of mobile devices. Touch screens for PC's have been around for some time already (look at POS tills). The consumer demand for touch handhelds is now just making the market move more towards this technology. Love it or hate it, it's not going away anytime soon.
it's very simple why I will NOT depoly win8 on my corporate desktops - it's the metro UI with NO CHOICE to use the AERO UI - same goes for Server 2012. IF I install new servers, I will BACKLEVEL to Server 2008 R2 - Microsoft can pound salt until they give us the choice. If they take too long to realize they need to give us the choice, I am going to the MAC platform. Microsoft has a screw you attitude, well back at you Microsoft
Still trying to get a full Windows 7 corporate roll out.
Windows 7 was deployed not that long ago in our corporate environment. We still have applications that do not support windows 7 and we are locked in their use for some time to come.

Compatibility with the new OS will be a decisive point against the new kid in town.
Bet the farm? Perhaps, windows 8 may be the "Grapes of Wrath" for Microsoft.
Microsoft didn't ask our me (as a retail consumer), or my organisation (as an enterprise customer) or, in fact, anyone I know what we wanted in Win8.

They just did their own thing - as they always do.

So, like everyone I know (except perhaps for IT commentators and those with a commercial stake) it's not surprising none have any interest in what Microsoft produced.

Microsoft gambled on Win8 and already they’ve lost, which is a great shame but an inevitable consequence of failing to understand the market they sought to win over, or perhaps a market they simply took for granted.

But to add insult to injury, as a late starter, Microsoft failed to take advantage of that position by learning from others and so produce something significantly better and cheaper.

The final nail in their coffin is that Microsoft failed to invest their own massive fortune in Win8 and related products by running them as a loss leader until they gained sufficient traction to stand alone. To me this suggest that Microsoft no longer has any faith in their own ability.
Not for at least 2-3 years. Windows 7 is operating just fine. WE don't see the value in updating.
The migration from the elders - XP and Windows 7 - is the key issue in order to adopt Windows 8. , Microsoft again doesn't provide the appropriate tools to perform this transition smoothly and at low cost. Fortunately we found third party tools like WinWin from Zinstall and some others which help to do this not simple mission accomplished.
Corporate has just begun to deploy Windows 7 in limited locations. I don´t forsee a change to Windows 8. We will probably skip a versión just as we did with Vista