Microsoft's business pitch for Windows 8 depends on tablets

Microsoft's business pitch for Windows 8 depends on tablets

Summary: Microsoft may be facing a wicked brew---consumerization and recent Windows 7 upgrades---when it comes to making the Windows 8 case to corporations.


Microsoft pitched its Windows 8 case for businesses, but corporations are going to need to hear more to buy into the new operating system. In fact, businesses will need to hear more from their employees than Microsoft and the IT department.

CNET News' Stephen Shankland was on scene in Hanover, Germany as Microsoft operating chief Kevin Turner outlined the business benefits of Windows 8. In a nutshell, Windows 8 is designed to give consumers and corporations what they want. Turner talked about security and the nuances of sideloading apps.

The catch? Microsoft needs consumers to hop on board the Windows 8 bandwagon and bring Microsoft-powered tablets to work. Turner said:

The consumerization of IT–consumers bringing technology into the workplace–is something all companies must embrace.

Indeed, Apple has embraced consumerization. You can twirl in a circle at many companies and hit someone with an iPad. In just a few hours you'll be running into co-workers yapping about the iPad 3 (HD). And that reality explains why Microsoft may be in a bit of a bind with Windows 8.

See also: How Windows 8 will allow administrators to sideload and manage apps | Shortcuts and surprises in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview | Some possibly not-so-good news for business users with Windows 8

Consider the following:

  • Corporations just upgraded to Windows 7 and Windows 8 looks dramatically different. It's hard for corporations to justify two operating system upgrades in four years. Let's face it: Companies, including many still on XP, can milk Windows 7 for a decade.
  • It's unclear whether Windows 8 can be all things to all customers. Touch and keyboard capable? Show me. Seamless Office integration. Show me. ROI? Really show me.
  • Consumers will have to drive the Windows 8 bus. I'm looking forward to Windows 8 tablets only because the Android army has botched numerous attempts to storm the Apple iPad beaches. Windows 8 could be a tablet juggernaut. However, the tablet story for Windows 8 is also a show-me tale. Show me consumers will buy a Windows 8 tablet over an iPad. Show me Windows 8 tablets can be a viable No. 2. Show me I won't be a technology leper if I carry a Windows 8 tablet around.

Those three items equate to a wicked brew for the business case for Windows 8. Microsoft can overcome these challenges with some secret enterprise sauce---a great Office interface on the tablet, SharePoint integration and other goodies---but there's a large hill to climb.


Topics: Operating Systems, Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Software, Tablets, Windows

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  • Slow down...

    From what I've seen on Windows 8 so far, the key message seems to be "you are working too hard, slow down."

    My typical workflow has me using 3 or 4 reference windows, whilst I type into another. The metroification of the apps seems determined to slow me down, by not letting me look at my reference material while I write, forcing me to flick between "windows" and trying to remeber what I just read as I bash away a few words, before switching back again.

    As long as all the apps I need also have "normal" versions, Windows 8 will be fine. If they all slowly migrate to being Metro only, Windows 8 will become a pain.
    • Actually, the opposite is true

      The Metro UI is designed to surface your critical data to make you even more productive. Deep linking in applications and live tiles are designed for a glance and get back to work process. The same concept that make BI dashboards so powerfull. Add in device wide contextual search and you'll be more productive than ever.
      • Not the start screen...

        I'm not talking about the start screen. I like the start screen, just like I like my Windows Phone 7. What I'm not so keen on are the Metro "Apps", which are full screen only, or 1/3 2/3 split.

        This works fine on a tablet or smartphone, but the Contacts app, Calendar app etc. on Windows 8 just look damned silly (and insulting) on a 1920x1200 or 2560x1400 display (instead of using the extra space, they just increase the font size by 210% over a tablet screen). I don't mind them being full screen, on a small screen, whilst I'm on the move, but once I get back to my desk, I want to be able to line up multiple windows to allow me to do my work.

        If those "windows" can only be shown in full screen mode, they are going to be difficult to use and reduce productivity.

        For example, this browser window is set to be about 1000px wide, which is about right for reading most pages. Viewing the same pages in IE 10 in Metro App view makes the same sites hard to read and tough going.

        I currently have a seminar in one window, a presentation I'm working on in another, the documentation I'm basing the presentation on in a third, plust this browser window and my Tweetdeck feed over in the corner (dual screen set-up).

        I can quickly see what is happening in the webinar and read the new notes, as they appear, whilst writing in the presentation window and listening to the speaker.

        I can type my thoughts into the presentation, whilst reading the source documentation. And if something interesting appears on my twitter feed, I can glance at it and read it.

        If those are all full-screen apps, I have to continually switch between each of them, to keep on top of them. I can type into my presentation, whilst reading my documentation or notes, I have to read my notes, think about what I want to say, try and remember it and switch back to the presentation, type a sentence or so, then swap back to the documentation. The workflow breaks down and I am less productive.

        Also, a Twitter feed doesn't need to be full screen, taking up 2560x1400 pixels, it needs 200-250px width, at most.
      • Microsoft Fangirls just dont get it.

        wright_is is dead on. I have 2 - 24 inch monitors on my desk, both with 1920x1200 for a reason. That reason is NOT to run 2 full screen metro Apps.

        Right now I am watching 2 web servers (RDP windows) plus this web page, vCenter, Outlook etc. I may decide to open a cmd prompt to quickly do something.
      • What planet?

        skippy99 - are you from?
        Or maybe I should be "nicer" and say what industry.....

        Multiple windows open and active at the same time is the normal for me (engineer).

        More productive? Based on what I am seeing, Win8 at this time will have a negative impact on my worl throughput.
      • multiple windows complaints

        For those of you complaining about not being able to split the screen up more when working in Metro Apps. Tell me how many of those programs are currently in Metro style, when will they be (if ever)? Remember for those programs that you are using for pure productivity you will still be using the desktop (at least for the forseeable future). By the time that these type of programs are redesigned for Metro we'll likely be at Windows 9 or 10. Who knows, by then the snap options may grow astronimcally based on your useable screen space.

        Paul Thurrot has made an interesting point when he says the the Metro Start screen is at V1.0. Microsoft is just starting down the Metro road. Do you think they don't have plans for Windows 9 already? Including the idea of more Metro apps snapped into place based on certain criteria. Don't be so short sighted! And if you really don't like Windows 8, keep using Windows (an awesome OS) a sals is a sale to Microsoft.
      • How have you missed the desktop?

        Who on earth does productive things in Metro? It's for consumption of data, not production of data. If you work on your computer, you will live in Desktop just like you always have. I don't see myself ever running Metro apps on my desktop. But I can if I want to. I don't really ever see myself running desktop apps on my tablet, but I can if I want to. I don't see the problem.
      • Metro is at the Sidebar in Vista stage

        In Vista, the Sidebar was confined to the right of the primary monitor and was a resource hog (15% on a quad core), but in Win7 is place anywhere (in the invisible grid) and <1% (on an i7).

        I would imagine for Metro to really function on a desktop, a Metro app would need to be placed much like gadgets are on Win7. In fact Metro apps appear like beefed up gadgets (which are HTML based).

        I have yet to download Win8, but I will run it natively on my 3 x 30" + 2 x 21.5 touchscreens to see how it really handles multiple monitors.

        When one gets large screens, some things need to be done differently. I had to change the UAC warning to not blank screens, as the whole room went dark.
      • @hafenbrack

        That is the big question. How long will "real" apps still exist? How many will go over to Metro only? THAT is the worry. I understand your point, but Microsoft's concentration on all things tablet and totally neglecting its current user base, when talking about the next generation of its "desktop" operating system is very worrying.

        They keep showing how wonderful the experience is on a tablet, whilst totally neglecting to mention it looks dreadful on existing hardware.

        I hope that a majority of the applications I currently use will remain desktop or be split into a Metro and a Desktop component. That way, on the move, I can use the Metro app, which makes sense, then, when I'm back in the office, I can have the data in a window on my desktop, to allow me to work with it - a good example would be OneNote.

        OneNote is a classic example of an app which would benefit from having a Metro interface on a tablet, for data entry. The problem is, once I'm back in the office, I need those OneNote notes in a window, next to my other work, so that I can integrate it into a presentation or document.

        IF Microsoft (and other software developers) do that, then I have no problems with Windows 8. If they say "OneNote looks fantastic in Metro," and leave it at that, then it is a big problem.

        IE is a good example of how to go forward, there is a cut down, full screen version for Metro and there is a "proper" version for the desktop. This is how many / most productivity apps need to work - a simple, full screen interface for the tablet on the move and a windowed version for the desktop.
    • Spoken...

      by someone that has not tried the product. It is Windows 7 and tablet OS in 1.
      • I have tried it...

        That is why I am worried. This isn't helped by Microsoft only talking about tablets, as if professional users and desktops have all died and there are only content consumers left...

        Having used the Metro apps which are available, most just look silly or are unusable on a large screen.
      • Microsoft hasn't forgotten

        @wright_is, the professional users are already dedicated to Microsoft and will still buy their Windows 8 regardless eventually. It is the less computer-savvy consumer that Microsoft needs to appeal to with Windows 8.
  • RE: Show me I won???t be a technology leper....

    [quote]Show me I won???t be a technology leper if I carry a Windows 8 tablet around.[/quote]


    I am curious what the purpose of this statement was? I fail to understand why some bloggers feel the need to stick in something derogatory when writing about Microsoft like it is somehow a bad thing to use a Microsoft product?
    • it's so simple

      M$ bribes people to use its lame products:
      The Linux Geek
      • Marketing?

        This isn't bribery, it's marketing. And if it's cost effective for the customer, it's a good deal.
      • Lies.

        I guess either you didn't read the article or are just an ABM'r just like the author of that article. I guess you don't know about Apple and just about every other tech company sending out hardware to tech media writers.

        If your not a MS hater then you should have clued in when your buddy who wrote that article said "They did something like this when Vista and Vista 7 went out".

        Vista 7? Whats that? Its not a Microsoft product...unless...unless the author of the article was insinuating that the bad press Vista got should be attributed to Windows 7 because its really just another version of Vista? Is that it?

        Ah. I guess the Vista 8 comment at the end really gives it away doesn't it. Well the guy who wrote that completely unjounalistic piece of trash should go back to school and learn what being a real journalist is all about. Its one of the most obviously biased pieces of trash I have ever read masquerading as real news.

        You should be ashamed to have yourself associated with such trash by creating a link to it an putting it in one of your posts.

        Have a little more integrity man. We get you don't like Windows or Microsoft but don't associate yourself with that which you should know is complete trash in the process.
    • Technology leper - excellent description

      Think the term 'technology leper' describes the situation very well and I can identify with it. Its like why buy a Windows phone - seems pointless when there is Android and iPhone that are popular, mature and do everything a Windows phone can do - don't use the technology no-one else will touch.
      • So wrong

        All I will say is I guess you haven't read a thing about Windows phone 7.

        Because your wrong and it would have been free and easy for you to find out.
      • What Windows 7 phone?

        [i]All I will say is I guess you haven't read a thing about Windows phone 7.[/i]

        You mean the 20 people out there who bought the thing? Did you run an ad in the paper to find them? ;)
  • Windows 8 for businesses

    The future of Windows 8 for businesses and other organizations is unclear. I think we will find many businesses using Windows 7 as their primary operating system for quite some time but they would be silly to not at least investigate the possibilities of Windows 8 to be used on some scale. With Tablets and touch capable devices being the hot item for the past few years I think Windows 8 could be a huge win for some organizations.