November 16, 2011, 9:07 PM — Microsoft certainly made a big splash Tuesday with its demonstrations of Windows 8 at the BUILD conference in Anaheim, and it's easy to see why. The new platform is a surprisingly radical departure from the traditional Windows paradigm.
There are clearly going to be lots of improvements in Windows 8, including snappier performance, multiplatform support, and improved security features. Then, of course, there's Metro, the software's new, mobile-style interface, which will likely appeal to an increasingly mobile-minded world of consumers.
In many ways, in fact, Metro reminds me a lot of Unity, the new desktop environment Canonical brought from the netbook side and made standard for desktop versions of its Ubuntu Linux as well. Particularly for Linux, which doesn't enjoy the desktop dominance Windows does, borrowing some familiarity from the mobile side is a great way to bring in new users, as I've said before.
For business users, however, I'm not at all sure Windows 8 is going to be the right choice for cross-platform use, and that's because of Metro. Metro looks great for working on tablets or other mobile platforms, but not for employees spending long periods of time on desktop computers. Here's why I think businesses should consider carefully before they jump to Windows 8 across the board.
1. Content Consumption vs. Content Production
Windows 8's Metro user interface mimics interfaces commonly found on tablets and smartphones. For average consumers, this makes a lot of sense, since that type of interface is what they're used to on the mobile platforms they spend so much time on.