Windows 8 – designed to annoy CIOs?

OK, so the Windows 8 first look is out and – on the face of it – kind of cool. Finally, Microsoft has worked out what a touch screen interface should do differently! Although it does feel like a very early look – judging by the fact that when they showcase non-Windows 8 HTML5 apps – it looks exactly like Windows 7…

My comment about CIOs is not so much to do with the specifics of the platform – of which we’ve seen too little to say anything other than ‘oooh, shiny’ – but the speed of the refresh cycle. Thanks to the mediocrity of Windows Vista, most enterprises that run Windows (even smaller ones like the one I work for) skipped it, and are probably in the midst of a migration from Windows XP to Windows 7. That was the best part of a 10 year gap.

The migration – especially in smaller enterprises, although I know of larger ones doing this too – will let happen naturally with hardware refreshes.

Now: it’s partially my obsessive tendencies, but I’d really like a uniform OS estate across my company. It’d make management and training so much easier. Ditto rollout of new services. So every three years for a new OS? Too fast, if they’re going to change as much as it looks like they might in UI and usability. And even though hardware refreshes tend to take place every three years or so – they tend to happen in waves, especially in growing companies. Not everyone gets a new machine at the same time…

Also; touch in the enterprise? Wonderful for marketing and useful on tablets (or ‘slates’ as Microsoft bizarrely insists on calling them) – but really not useful for knowledge workers. Well, maybe on a Microsoft Surface machine – not on a desktop, for reasons I’ve gone into before – as long as we need to type, touch is a secondary interface for most people.

Regardless, will watch with interest. I’m afraid my home-life slide into Jobs-land is probably irreversible (for the moment) with any incremental upgrade but will watch with interest.