Windows 8 and the changing face of Microsoft

A couple months ago I started testing Windows 8 both at home and in the office. Today sees Microsoft officially launch its latest operating systems and change the way it interacts with its consumers and partners.

In summary and jumping straight to the point Microsoft is starting to copy Apple’s business model. See traditionally Microsoft has always been a software company , developing products like Excel, Word and Windows. Although Microsoft has always sold some excellent keyboards and mice its never produce hardware to run its Windows operating system. That was until they previewed the tablet PC named “Surface” in the summer which had number of PC vendors up in arms.

I understand why Microsoft has done this, they need Windows 8 to succeed in the tablet market this time around. See Microsoft has been here before with tablet PC format in the early 2000’s. It didn’t work, the hardware wasn’t up to scratch and Microsoft failed to understand the Windows interface wasn’t going to work well on a mobile device. In 2010 Apple finally cracked the tablet format and other hardware vendors followed suit running Android from Google.

This time Microsoft has the operating system (Windows 8) which works on a tablet format, in fact probably too well many people would argue including myself. Microsoft realised the hardware was also important to producing a quality tablet, more so that it’s traditional desktop PCs. So to this fact Microsoft wasn’t going to leave it to the traditional hardware vendors, it needed to set a standard to what it expects Windows 8 Tablet should be, hence Microsoft Surface.

Cutting out the middle man

Moving on and other ways Microsoft is changing is the way it sells it’s products and services to it customers. In the past Microsoft has been happy to sell through vendors, resellers, shops and companies like ourselves. Today Microsoft is moving to sell directly to the consumer very much like Apple does with most of its product range through Microsoft Store. Even with its high end products for the enterprise such as Windows Server and SQL products, Microsoft now offers Office 365 and Azure.

Microsoft is also emulating Apple App Store within Windows 8 allows users to browse an online store , download and pay for software without having to download the software in the traditional sense. You can even request help to fix your computer such as virus removals. Continuing on from this Microsoft has plans to open of physical stores starting with its flag ship shop in Times Square as pictured above.

Finally thoughts on Windows 8?

Well if you’re thinking about a new laptop or even tablet for home head down to your local computer store and have a play with the new interface. Its completely different from any other version of Windows in the last 17 years. For business users I just can’t see us recommending Windows 8 without demonstrating it extensively to the client first. I also think hardware vendors will keep offering Windows 7 as downgrade option for while to come.

I’ll leave you with Steve Ballmer opinion on Windows 8

“We have reimagined Windows and the result is a stunning lineup of new PCs,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “Windows 8 brings together the best of the PC and the tablet. It works perfect for work and play and it is alive with your world. Every one of our customers will find a PC that they will absolutely love.”