Is Windows 8 an upgrade? Fans of the Metro or 'modern' interface say, 'yes!' But other users aren't so sure.
If you have Oct. 26 highlighted on your calendar, you're probably either an IT professional, computer geek, or technology reporter. That's when Microsoft debuts its much-ballyhooed rethink of the computer operating system, Windows 8. The company has released the final code to the original equipment manufacturers and they will flood the stores and Internet this autumn with a wave of new desktops, notebooks, and tablets.
The big deal about Windows 8 from a user perspective is the touch interface it will provide for touch-enabled devices. It's also the key navigator for traditional mouse-and-keyboard users. That interface — known for 20 months as the Metro interface until a German retailer threatened litigation — has served as a lightning rod for critics, occasioning more than the usual weeping and wailing from the tech community. Others maintain that it will be the neatest thing since sliced bread for both business users and IT departments.
Falling into the latter category is Peter Lee, engagement manager and desktop deployment lead at SWC Technology Partners, an IT consultancy. Lee thinks Windows 8 is a computing metaphor whose time has come.
But he doesn't forecast a wholesale migration to the new platform. The more likely scenario is that businesses will opt for a hybrid approach that mixes Windows 8 advanced security and mobile device compatibility with existing Windows 7 installations, especially as businesses move more to the cloud, virtualization and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) models.
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