Microsoft unveiled today a preview of Windows 8, it’s new operating system that blurs the line between where the laptop ends and the tablet begins. Now Microsoft’s forays into mobile have largely been failures to date, but they are clearly attempting to change that. They are shooting directly for the tablet market, which Gartner estimates will reach $58M by 2014.
According to Bloomberg:
“For much of February, app developers could come to Building 20 at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington campus and turn their app over to a Windows engineer who tries it out and provides feedback. Now Microsoft has taken that program on the road, visiting 87 cities, including New York, Paris and Guangzhou, China.”
Since the new paradigm is such a departure from Microsoft’s traditional operating systems, applications built for older versions of Windows won’t be compatible with Windows 8, so they are essentially starting over, and asking their development partners to start over too. Their best lure is access to the 300 million people and organizations who still buy PCs. Apps built for the new operating system will be completely portable across PC and tablet. However, Microsoft has a long way to go to catch up with the 200 million apps in the stores of Apple and Google, particularly since the barrier for software companies to start elsewhere is seemingly as high as it is to port to v8.
I expect that most organizations will wait to hop on this new operating system, to see if it takes root. However, with the muscle Microsoft is putting behind it, I expect it will quickly become the number 3 platform, which will convince some folks to consider it for new apps.
So the net result is that another multiple of complexity was just added to the app race. Organizations now have another platform to consider, and from what I have seen HTML 5 hasn’t been fully embraced as a complete replacement for native apps. It is more important than ever to have a multi-platform development tool, further validating IBM’s acquisition of Worklight.
Things are getting interesting… All of the players are finally in the ring, and this time the operating system war is starting out on more even footing. Let the games begin!