Windows 8 Release Preview an Interesting Opportunity
Late last week, Microsoft released its last preview edition of the Windows 8 operating system. While there are still some bugs to work out and the interface is likely to change a little, the OS will still give a good idea of what the final version of the product will look and feel like. Midsize firms considering making the switch to Windows 8 in the next year or two need to take this opportunity to begin familiarizing themselves with the new OS.
The Release Preview is one of the last steps before Microsoft releases a new OS version, and it will be the last chance that businesses and consumers have to download and try out the OS before the official Windows 8 release date later this year. This version of the operating system, which you can download from the Microsoft website, still has some bugs, and the user interface will undergo some additional changes in the final version, but it remains an excellent way to get acquainted.
The latest version contains hundreds of visible changes from the last preview version, and tens of thousands of changes in the code itself, according to this ITPro article. The changes include multi-monitor support, a host of new customizable applications and significant updates to Internet Explorer 10.
The information gathered from the preview will be used to fine-tune the operating system before it is released to manufacturers in late summer. After that, expect the Windows 8 release date to come sometime in the fall, like the late-October release of Windows 7.
Taking Advantage of the Windows 8 Release Preview
Microsoft is touting the enterprise bona fides of the new OS for two main reasons. First, it's coming off of a popular and successful OS release in Windows 7. Previously, Microsoft didn't have to do much marketing to get people to switch from Vista to Windows 7, but this time, many organizations that have already upgraded to Windows 7 may want to sit this release out, and Microsoft has to convince them otherwise.
Second, Windows 8 marks the advent of Microsoft's attempt to merge desktop computing with mobility, as the OS will also be used on new smartphones and tablets. If Microsoft can get people excited about the desktop version of the OS, that excitement is likely to bleed over into mobility market share for the new OS.
For midsize businesses, the move to Windows 8 may be a welcome one, as the added security and management features will soon be required in a tech world that is quickly revolving around data security. As noted in this Information Week article, the ability for Windows 8 to stretch across devices while maintaining security and management protocols should make Windows 8 a major player in mobility while holding on to its PC market share.
IT managers need to take this opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new operating system, especially if they foresee an influx of Windows 8 devices or plan on upgrading existing systems to Windows 8 within the next year or so. While this is not a perfect version of the OS, some time spent learning it now could greatly help decisions about upgrading in the future, and if the decision to upgrade has already been made, there is no time like the present to start to get familiar with the new features of the OS.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.