For the past couple of weeks I have been strongly suggesting that it is time to drop Windows XP as your organization's official desktop operating system. There is still a very large contingent that is planning to stick with Windows XP for as long as they possibly can.
Well, Microsoft's plans for the future continue to work against them. Various leaks and rumors reveal that Microsoft is working feverishly on Windows 8. Check out Mary Jo Foley's blog post from last month for one of the first bits of leaked information.
I think Windows 7 is a fine operating system, and I have been very satisfied with it. In truth, I have been so satisfied, I cannot think of a single feature that Windows 8 could possibly have that would compel me to, once again, upgrade my operating system. (Well, except for the fact that it is my job.) I find it difficult to believe that Microsoft Windows 8 will be strictly a replacement for Windows 7. There must be more up Microsoft's sleeve than mere desktop operating system.
I will hazard a guess and say that Windows 8 will be all about the mobile-device market. It will be the company's tablet/smartphone flagship OS, combining the best of Windows Phone 7 and Windows 7. The mobile market is the fastest growing market in technology, and it is the market where Microsoft lags the competition by the greatest margin. Microsoft has to make a successful foray into the mobile market or risk sliding into insignificance.
As more information is leaked (or officially released), we will see if my educated guess is correct, but I wonder what the TechRepublic membership thinks. Will Windows 8 be a new desktop operating system, a mobile device OS, or a combination of both? As a company, how important is the success of Windows 8 going to be to Microsoft?
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.