While everyone is still getting fully acquainted to Windows 7, Microsoft has decided to roll out its preview of Windows 8. Windows 8 is intriguing, with such drastic renovations like the removal of the start button and the addition of apps for its new Metro look. While expanding their consumer base seems like a smart move, these changes could alienate business owners and actually serve to contract the consumer base.
Apps are the key new feature for Windows 8. With the disappearance of the start button, Windows 8 has introduced the new start menu. This start menu looks very different from anything Windows has put out in the past, and I found it took quite a good deal of time to get used to. The start menu is the core of what Windows is calling its Metro design style. This design style seems to highlight form over function, an unnecessary focus for business owners. The Metro design also comes with an App Store. Through the App Store, the user is able to download or buy applications that can be pinned on the start menu. Though there are hardly any apps now, it is probable that between now and release dates app developers will busy filling the app store with the most popular existing apps.
The other main feature of Windows 8 is Windows Live integration. With Windows 8, you will be able to sign into any computer or mobile device with your Windows Live account and have all of your settings and cloud space transferred to that device, making it easy to hop between mediums and still preserve work. As the world moves farther away from traditional computer usage, this is perhaps the shining feature of Windows 8. By using a Windows 8 computer and tablet or smart phone concurrently, you will be able to seamlessly switch between your devices, allowing for maximum efficiency on the go and at home.
With the introduction of Metro and this commercial for Internet Explorer 9, it appears as though Microsoft is seeking to regain the youth market it lost to Apple. However, one wonders if this move will alienate business owners. While the addition of Windows Live integration is a huge plus for business owners as businesses move more towards a Bring Your Own Device system, most of the changes seem to represent aesthetic changes that take time getting used to. As of now—and remember that this is just a Windows 8 Preview so new features can be added—it seems as though Windows 8 will require your business to spend time it could have used being productive to train every employee without having Windows 8 add much benefit over Windows 7. CMIT being a company that is a Microsoft partner and IT Support specialist, I'd love to say Windows 8 is the way to go. However, the way it looks now I suspect the recommendation for small business will be to stick with Windows 7.