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Reports of Windows' death are much exaggerated

25 Oct 2012
V3's Dan Robinson

With the impending launch of Windows 8, some prominent figures in the IT industry have recently been predicting the demise of Windows. But is it really so easy to dismiss Microsoft's ubiquitous platform, or is just a case of wishful thinking by those with their own agenda?

Windows 8 is certainly a huge gamble for Microsoft, delivering a very different touch-oriented user interface and a completely new application model, making it a major shift from the versions of Windows that have come before.

However, as V3's review of Windows 8 points out, there are plenty of features under the hood that will appeal to business users, even if they might initially feel uncomfortable with the ugly tile-based front end.

This is not to mention the fact that a great many organisations have still to complete a migration to Windows 7, which looks like it will be around in the corporate space for a long, long time yet, possibly as long as Window XP was (and still is in many cases).

Those predicting the end of Windows claim that the corporate market is turning to devices such as tablets and smartphones, especially with the rise of the so-called bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.

But BYOD and the consumerisation of IT have both been trumpeted by proponents for several years now, and yet corporate offices around the world are still dominated by people using Windows PCs and laptops.

Where people are using tablets or smartphones, this often turns out to be as a secondary device in addition to a Windows PC, rather than instead of it.

Why is this? Firstly, most of the business apps that people need to use are for Windows, and these work best on a big screen. Secondly, trying to do anything much beyond reading emails is an exercise in frustration on a device that only has a touch screen for input - just try it and see.

Thirdly, Windows PCs and laptops seamlessly connect into a corporate infrastructure that is almost entirely based around Windows servers. The same cannot be said for many of the devices that are being touted as their replacement.

Fourthly, there is a real danger with BYOD that organisations are simply surrendering control over the endpoint part of their infrastructure to the consumer-driven whims of their employees.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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