"From an OS perspective on the desktop Windows is still the best. But people will have to get used to the Windows 8 interface on the desktop," Verhoeff says."When they adapt they will want it on phones and they will be happy with how files sync between the two."
The success of iOS and Android on tablets remains the biggest obstacle for Windows 8, admits Verhoeff, and with PC sales in decline Microsoft won't be as big as it used to be, but will still carve out a space in the market, he says.
Independent developer Jonathan Isabelle recently developed an app for Windows 8 called Jack of Tools (a "Swiss Army Knife"-type app that contains a flashlight, compass, virtual leveler, geo-location, altitude, speed, sound meter and other features). He migrated his app using RadControls for Windows 8, a toolset for building Windows 8 apps from application and content management company Telerik (Methylium also used Telerik's toolset).
Isabelle agrees that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 have a smaller audience and less developer competition than iOS and Android, and that's a good thing, for now.
"The potential audience could be huge," Isabelle says. "That's very appetizing to a developer. When I started developing on Windows Phone there were tens of thousands of apps, and now there are over 100,000."
Industry research backs this notion. Forrester predicts that 2014 will be the year that Windows 8 gains firm market traction in conventional and touch devices, and by 2016 it will gain almost a 30% share of tablets.
Windows 8 Programming Goes Multi-Lingual
These choices set Windows 8 apart from the more strict iOS, which only allows app development using Objective C. For Android, Java is the only language Google supports.
"Microsoft is trying to show the developer community that it is not the old proprietary Microsoft but the new Microsoft that wants everybody on board," says Verhoeff.
However, while Microsoft is looking to attract more developers by supporting more programming languages than Apple or Google, Windows 8 does have very specific guidelines for the look and feel of apps, he adds, and the company is really pushing the "Metro" design style.