Friday, May 31, 2013

Shoud SBs upgrade to Windows 8?

It's been a few months now since Microsoft released Windows 8 back in late October, but perhaps you're still on the fence about whether or not your business should upgrade. Let's set aside the fact that the upgrade price tag jumped from $40 to $200 at the end of January - there's not much that can be done about that now. My opinion is that no business should upgrade to Windows 8 at this time. Here's why.


An Intermediary Upgrade

The primary reason that I believe businesses should hold off on upgrading to Windows 8 has to do with the User Interface (UI). The Windows 8 UI marks a radical departure from every version that precedes it. Given this, there are some kinks that still need to be ironed out. I consider this release to be similar to Windows 95, Windows Me, or Windows Vista - the intermediary version that Microsoft releases prior to a truly sound and innovative business platform such as Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows 7.

Touch-Screen User Interface

The Windows 8 UI has been designed primarily to compete with Apple and Android for the touch-screen market. Since very few - if any - business applications benefit from a touch experience, this change delivers no benefit to the end user.
Now, it should be noted that if you are buying a touch-capable device, Windows 8 is the only way you are going to get to actually use your new whiz-bang touch screen. How often you actually use it is another matter.

Drop in Productivity

Along with the touch-screen UI, Windows 8 introduces several other changes to the Operating System (OS). While some of these updates do provide some performance improvements and security benefits, they do not outweigh the drop in productivity that the typical user will encounter upon upgrading. For example, new users will notice that their Start button has been taken away and replaced by a Start screen with "tiles." A number of key applications have replaced with Microsoft "apps." Furthermore, certain Line of Business (LOB) applications may not function as expected under this new OS.
There are third party downloads available that will allow users to customize the Windows 8 experience and bring back features from previous versions of Windows, though this involves going through the process of researching different options, downloading the application and so on. It also begs the question - why pay for the upgrade if you're just going to revert back to features from the old version?

Wait for the Service Pack

If I haven't convinced you to "just say no" to Windows 8, I encourage you to at least wait until Microsoft releases the first Service Pack. The Service Packs typically bring a host of bug fixes, further UI improvements, and compatibility fixes. If we look at Microsoft's history of Service Pack releases, we can likely expect Windows 8 SP1 to come out some time in 2014.

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