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Windows 8 In Enterprises: Seeking Killer Apps

Microsoft must come up with killer apps that take advantage of the potential of Window 8, Dynamics, Azure, and the rest of its stack.

It's important to note that I have been unable to verify exactly how identical the Windows 8 phone experience will be to the Windows 8 tablet and PC experiences. Microsoft has been a little too mum on defining the degree of overlap, particularly from the phone side, and how that will impact app design. That's more evidence of another Microsoft silo that has to be taken down as Microsoft makes its unique play for the consumer/enterprise market. But, based on some vague reassurances I've received, the blurring of these distinctions and the extension of a single app across phone, tablet, and desktop is at least a theoretical possibility.

It's clear that this won't be desirable for every app--far from it. But from a development as well as a licensing standpoint, there are many many cases where building one app to cover a business process that spans all three devices will be hugely important for developers and customers.

There are a number of things that must be straightened out before we can assess what this killer app scenario will look like. A big question is simply how well will Windows 8 support different deployment options: Partners at WPC were assured that when Windows 8 goes GA in October. it will support multiple screen sharing scenarios. The version on my Samsung tablet has pretty much the same four scenarios available in Windows 7, with some contention between what can be on which screen when. Also necessary will be clarification about whether a native Windows 8 app can simultaneously have a desktop keyboard and mouse user experience and a tablet touch experience: I tried to see if any of the Windows 8 apps on my Series 7 would support that kind of operation, and the answer seemed to be no.

While these questions may seem trivial, the underlying question they beg isn't: How different can the Windows 8 experience be from what we think of as a desktop/tablet/phone experience today? I can imagine a number of scenarios where I'd I want sit at my desktop with my tablet mounted next to or above my keyboard and mouse, and alternate between the two input modes. Add the phone on the other side of my keyboard--maybe that's what stages all the voice communications for my Windows 8 apps--and now I have a multimode experience that, from the developer's standpoint, can be built as a single app and used by a single user across all three devices.

The bottom line for enterprise applications is that there are many processes that could span the three main enterprise devices, and the customer experience would be all the richer for it. That richness should translate into opportunity for Microsoft and its partners, and headaches for Apple and Google.

But to make this happen, Microsoft must show the world what the killer enterprise app experience can be. Maybe some partner will do it first, but my sense is that this should be job No. 1 at Microsoft. If Microsoft wants the market to tilt in its direction, it must do this. Apple had the easy job of defining the ultimate consumption device. To Microsoft falls the task of reinventing consumption to include creation.

Did I say this rivals the game-changing precedent of the Windows 3 launch? If Microsoft succeeds, that prediction may prove to be an understatement. A very big understatement.

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User Rank: Apprentice
7/21/2012 | 1:47:26 AM
re: Windows 8 In Enterprises: Seeking Killer Apps

I agree with the two poster already. Very good read. But, I wouldn't say that WP7.x was a developer failure. The apps store grew to 100K apps almost as fast as the iPhone yet faster than Android. Hopefully, this will be a great sign for WP8, which now supports the all important native code, multicores and external storage.

In terms of the enterprise, MS clearly has the edge. They're the only company that has end-to-end solutions across the entire device stack, a mature cloud presence, and the security and productivity suites to sell to enterprises.

Let's hope that MS executes well on achieving this vision. But I believe that their over all success in the enterprise will be tied to their ability to create a new connection with the consumer that carries over into the enterprise. In other words, MS has to cater to the consumer much more than they have in the past, which in my opinion means moving more and more into being a hardware company, assuming their OEMs do not step forward quickly to help them realize this vision.
User Rank: Apprentice
7/20/2012 | 1:44:17 PM
re: Windows 8 In Enterprises: Seeking Killer Apps
Josh, great article and you are correct. Microsoft wants the world to believe that it has found gold and has the right strategy to go get it. However, Microsoft has a varied history when it comes to focus and execution on a plan. They have become viewed more like the shifting sands of the Sahara as opposed to, say, Apple that is viewed as building an empire with a long lasting legacy.
Steve Wiseman
Steve Wiseman,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/19/2012 | 6:36:56 PM
re: Windows 8 In Enterprises: Seeking Killer Apps
Hi Josh,

Good article, but as I see it the gamble by MS is huge. I don't think this is going to turn out good either.

Why? Just like you said - you never got to see how well Windows 8 phone compared to the Windows 8 OS. A lot of this stuff we have never seen - a ton.

Surface...looks great right? But has anyone actually been able to try it out? No...why not?

This whole thing scares me right now...because my company depends on the MS ecosystem. I think MS is making some very dangerous moves. Announcing products way before they are ready to demo. Vague details. Not listening to customers at all (Windows 8 / 2012, no start menu?)

To me it looks like their vision is users in the corporate world will no longer have a mouse, and use their hands with their 23" screen. Not going to happen any time soon.

Been in this biz for a long time...and every time I see moves like this from a technology company it is a complete disaster. They should have never made such drastic changes to the Windows desktop. They should have had a tablet/phone edition, and slowly made interface changes to the desktop edition.

I am telling you right now...the huge change in the Windows desktop will keep it out of corporations for years and years. Just imagine the pitchforks when users have to use touch like gestures (with their mouse) to just get their computer to shutdown (If you use Windows 8 you will know about this hide and seek game I am talking about..very frustrating for the average user)

Mark my words. Unless the final version has a way of 'easing' the user into the new metro interface (or disabling it totally) this will be a disaster of epic proportions.

Steve Wiseman

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