By Don Reisinger

Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system is scheduled to launch later this year. And when it does, consumers and even enterprise users can expect to adopt it fairly quickly, without the significant holdouts such as Microsoft faced with Vista.

The anticipation surrounding Microsoft’s upcoming launch of Windows 8 is running high. The company’s operating system is easily the biggest departure from earlier versions Microsoft has ever launched, and it could very well be the answer to Apple’s iPad and Android-based tablets in the mobile market.

Still, there are many people in the industry who aren’t sure if Windows 8 will have what it takes to be successful. The operating system is, as mentioned, substantially different from preceding versions of the software, and considering IT budgets are still tight, there’s a chance companies won’t be ready to adopt the new operating system when it launches later this year. To make matters worse, Mac OS X is selling extremely well, prompting many consumers to turn their backs on Microsoft.

But despite all those challenges, Windows 8 will still be a winner this year. From everything Microsoft has shown off and everything the company has promised, there should be little doubt that Windows 8 will be a success this year and beyond.

Read on to find out why:

1. The new design won’t scare people away

There has been some concern among critics that Windows 8’s new design will scare consumers away. Those folks reason that people will get their hands on Windows 8, be confused with its design and decide to go with something else. But that won’t happen. Windows 8’s design is intuitive, and Microsoft has said that it will give users the option to switch back to a classic look if they don’t like what they see.

2. Security, security, security

Security has always been a major concern for Microsoft. This time around, however, the software company is expected to deliver far better security than ever. In fact, Microsoft says that only its Windows Defender might be needed to keep the operating system safe from malicious hackers. If that’s true, there’s little doubt Windows 8 will be a success.

3. An application marketplace is huge

Now that Mac OS X has its own application marketplace, consumers are starting to feel that it’s a requirement in the OS space. Luckily for Microsoft, it will be delivering an application marketplace in Windows 8 to capitalize on that. Look for that feature to be a key draw for those who are tired of buying disks.

4. Tablets

Tablets are a huge concern for Microsoft right now. The company currently has no presence in the tablet space, and Apple and Google Android are running away with it. Microsoft says that Windows 8 tablets will change all that, and based on the companies that plan to bring the operating system to their slates, it might have a point. Look for tablets to be a key ingredient in Windows 8’s success this year.

5. Don’t undervalue ARM support

Ever since Microsoft announced ARM support in Windows, the agreement hasn’t really been talked about. However, it’s arguably one of the biggest aspects of Windows 8. With ARM support, Microsoft can kick off its mobile charge, and vendors will be able to improve device battery life. It’s a win-win.

6. Going to the cloud with SkyDrive

Microsoft knows all too well how important the cloud is. That’s why the company has said it will integrate SkyDrive into Windows 8. By doing so, users will have free cloud storage available to them, and that should go a long way toward keeping users on Windows rather than switching to Mac OS X.

7. Enterprise virtualization

Those in the enterprise know quite well how important Hyper-V is in the Windows Server ecosystem. But those same folks might be surprised to hear the service is also coming to Windows 8. The move is designed to help consumers and enterprises run legacy applications and earlier versions of Windows and thus dramatically increase the chances that a company’s outdated software will still work on a new PC.

8. Windows to Go

Windows to Go could be a boon for the enterprise. The idea is to allow users to have their entire Windows work environment available to them on any computer, thanks to an installation of their content on a thumb drive. According to Microsoft, the service will even support a person’s programs, effectively allowing them to bring their entire computer with them wherever they go by simply using a thumb drive.

9. Fast (and fewer) boot-ups

Over the years, boot-ups have been a thorn in the average Windows user’s side. However, Microsoft says  Windows 8 will deliver much faster boot-up times and reduce the number of times users will need to restart their systems to get Windows updates. Not bad, eh?

10. Legacy products help

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s worth noting that Windows’ success over the years has been due mainly to the versions that came before it. Consumers loved Windows 95, so they moved to Windows 98, for example. And although Windows Vista was a disappointment, Windows XP users were happy to adopt Windows 7. This time around, expect Windows 7’s popularity to boost Windows 8.



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