"Microsoft has a chance here," he said. "By the second half of 2014, there will be a lot more touch-enabled systems. That, and these updates, could help Windows 8 long term. I don't think Windows 8 will be more successful than Windows 7 [in the enterprise] but if 8.1 is easy to deploy, that could change over time."
Most important to enterprises, said Silver, will be the ease of updating from Windows 8 to version 8.1. If the first "point" release is painless to distribute to Windows 8 hardware, Microsoft will have a better shot at convincing enterprises to adopt the radical OS.
"If enterprises see that this is relatively easy to deploy, they may start thinking about Windows 8," Silver said. "What Microsoft needs to do is get some credibility here."
After Microsoft moved to a regularly-scheduled Patch Tuesday in the fall of 2003, companies instituted a complicated process of testing and spot-deploying the updates before rolling them out en mass, said Silver. But as time went on, many halted the practice as they became confident the patches would not cripple computers or break applications.
"Now, very few organizations do that," Silver maintained. "Microsoft needs to gain that kind of credibility for these [Windows 8] updates."
This article, Microsoft votes for free Windows 8.1, collects kudos, was originally published at Computerworld.com.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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