November 29, 2012, 10:53 AM — Business adoption of Windows 8 won't happen overnight and will likely involve a gradual phasing in alongside Windows 7 rather than a wholesale enterprise-wide swap-out of one operating system for the other, according to Microsoft's chief marketing officer for Windows.
Windows 8 represents a generational shift in how Microsoft regards the relationship among the operating system, hardware and applications that will take time for customers to understand and adapt to, says Tami Reller, who serves as CMO and CFO of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live division.
At the moment available hardware in retail stores and apps designed specifically for Windows 8 are still ramping up, Reller told analysts at the Credit Suisse technology conference, but they lag behind where they need to be.
While there are some compelling Windows 8 hardware options for sale already, "It's not enough in our opinion. ... I think it's good but not great in terms of the full touch assortment," she told the conference.
As for Windows 8 business tablets, "there are scenarios where that's going to make a ton of sense and we feel really good about our offerings there for enterprises today and what's to come from our OEMs," Reller says.
She says she expects more options to crop up in the next few months because Microsoft has certified 1,500 Windows 8 devices proposed by partners, and in January Microsoft itself will come out with its Surface Pro tablet/laptop that supports both traditional Windows 7 apps and Windows 8 Modern apps.
She says it will take time for business customers to write line-of-business apps for Windows 8 and its touch environment, and that will further delay widespread Windows 8 enterprise adoption, but those apps will be a powerful incentive for ultimately migrating to the new operating system.
She says Microsoft recognized that many businesses would still be transitioning to Windows 7 from Windows XP during the Windows 8 launch five weeks ago, making it likely that they wouldn't be up for a move to Windows 8 for possibly years.