Windows 8: Microsoft’s Most Ambitious Release

Today Microsoft officially made the final release of Windows 8 available to developers and IT administrators with a MSDN and TechNet Professional subscription.

It was an exciting time at Web Applications this morning as our Webbies were all eager to install it! So what’s new about Windows 8 and why the buzz?

Windows 8 is massive step away from Windows 7, most notably in style. The release version of Windows 8 doesn’t differ too much from the previews, but there are some new things.

Sporting its Modern (formerly Metro) user interface, Microsoft is targeting not only desktops and laptops, but tablets as well – Something Microsoft is late aiming for. There is only one Start menu, which seems to be more geared towards a touch screen. This isn’t of much benefit to desktop users and also wastes a lot of space. The translucent window effects of the Aero theme in Windows 7 have gone, replaced by a squarer look in keeping with the Modern UI. Programs such as Mail and Calendar are simplified versions of what you are used to in Outlook.

The Windows 8 Store is expanding all the time; a few paid-for apps have already appeared with these increasing by the time of general retail release on the 6th October.

Delving deeper behind all the cosmetics, something really big is going on. This is the bringing together of cloud, PC, tablet, Xbox and Windows Phone so that content is available across all devices. This is something that Microsoft has been missing out on. Applying this to businesses is also easy; bringing Windows 8 to employee’s phones without losing the security and manageability they get on their PCs.

Windows 8 is bold, different and could take people some time to get used to. It’s a move that Microsoft had to take in order to keep up to date with other market leaders such as Apple. Only time will tell if it can satisfy everyone’s needs on all their different devices.