Windows 8: Microsoft Keeps Small Businesses in the Loop

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted October 25, 2012

Original post: 10/25/2012. Updated on 10/26/2012

Windows 8 officially launches tomorrow, but today, some small businesses are already making Microsoft's new touch-optimized operating system an integral part of their workflows.

In the days leading up to the official release of Windows 8, Microsoft executives descended on Manhattan to kick off the megabucks debut of the software giant's touch-enabled OS. Judging by the big marketing push behind Windows 8, it's obvious that the new OS is a big deal to Microsoft.

And the reason is simple, people are snapping up tablets like Apple's iPad. Not only are they crowding the coffee table at home, they are also showing up in the workplace -- Microsoft's home turf.

Where's My Windows Desktop?

Windows 8 defaults to a touch-friendly user interface -- formerly dubbed Metro -- that features big, bold self-updating tiles that perform actions like launching apps and Web favorites. While a traditional Windows desktop is always on hand, industry watchers worried that Microsoft's strategy to compete in the post-PC would leave business users behind.

Nothing is further from the truth, says Jay Paulus, director of product marketing, SMB, for Microsoft.

For all of its enhancements, optimizations and touch functionality, Windows 8 was built on Windows 7's stable and market-leading technology foundation – more than 670 million licenses sold to date. That means that businesses can leverage years' worth of investment and experience in the massive Microsoft software and IT management ecosystem.

No Small Business Left Behind

On paper, the addition of touch, social media hooks and portable, cloud-aware user profiles and countless new options may sound overwhelming, but the Windows team has worked tirelessly to reduce complexity, says Paulus. "We took Windows 7 and added a whole lot of easy on top," says Paulus.

According to Carl Mazzanti, head of Hoboken, NJ-based SMB IT services provider eMazzanti Technologies, the way Windows 8 handles users will make many a help desk professional happy. Windows 8 supports user profile syncing across devices via the cloud. Alternately, users can load up their Windows 8 environment using the company's new "Windows-on a stick" functionality.

"User profile migration is a thing of the past," says Mazzanti.

David Sweedler, vice president of merchandising for Robert Graham, a maker of high-end designer apparel, says Windows 8 offers a no-compromise computing platform that can handle big Illustrator and Photoshop files while juggling Excel and staying in constant contact with partners and colleagues across collaboration platforms.

The high-stakes fashion industry moves at a blistering pace that's "measured in seconds," adds Sweedler. In his experience, Windows 8 is more than up to the challenge, with the added benefit of responsive touch input and a highly visual interface that showcase his brand's designs.

More on Windows 8

Craving more info on Windows 8? Check out these articles by our colleagues at eWeek and IT Business Edge.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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