Now that Windows 8 has been released, every enterprise IT department is playing the “If, when, how” game to determine how Windows 8 will be rolled out. So, for enterprise IT folks, I’d like to add another data point to your calculations: The perspective of end users is, “No thanks!” Seriously, we’re fine with Windows 7. Don’t go to Windows 8 on our behalf.
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While there’s debate in the press about how much Microsoft is spending to advertise the Windows 8 launch, we consumers can see that the budget is huge. Billboards, TV commercials, online banners, bus wraps and full-page magazine cover wraps throw Windows 8 in our faces. And yeah, every Windows-based computer or tablet that we get this holiday season will run the operating system, but that doesn’t change our core position on Windows 8 at work, which is, “No thanks—really. We’re good!”
From a user standpoint, the biggest change in Windows 8 is the new touch-based tile start screen, which replaces the traditional desktop. While it looks awesome on a tablet, it doesn’t make sense on our existing devices, which are all keyboard- and mouse-based laptops and desktops. Please don’t inflict the tile world on us!
Still Lovin’ Apple
When it comes to tablets, we love iPads. End users want to remind you that even though Microsoft is pushing the familiarity of Windows for its Windows 8 tablets, the reality is that none of our familiar Windows desktop applications are meant to be touch-based. So if you think that we want to touch our laptop screens to use our traditional applications, remember that we didn’t like the Windows XP tablets you gave us in 2001, and we’re not going to like the Windows 8 ones now.
And don’t try to give us the lightweight Windows RT tablets because they feel like iPads. We’ll remind you that they don’t run traditional Windows desktop applications and that we’d rather just have the iPad. (But don’t worry: We’ll still gladly let you manage our iPads with enterprise mobile application management software. And we’re happy using Quickoffice on them—there’s no need to wait for “real” Microsoft Office for iOS.)
The other reality is that the many Windows 8 “enterprise” improvements aren’t tied to Windows 8 at all. If you want to move us to Office 365, Office 15, SharePoint and SkyDrive, I can speak for all your users when I loudly shout, “Yes! Please do it!” But of course all of these applications work wonderfully on Windows 7. So please don’t get swept up in the hype and make us use Windows 8 just to get the cool new Office productivity features.
The bottom line is that we recognize we live in a Windows world. We’re fine with that. But that world can stay on Windows 7 until 2020. We’re fine with that, too.
About the author
Brian Madden is an opinionated, supertechnical, fiercely independent desktop virtualization and consumerization expert. He has written several books and over 1,000 articles about desktop and application virtualization.
This article originally appeared in the December/January issue of Modern Infrastructure.