Microsoft does expect businesses to use Windows 8: it's not just for consumers. However, based on a seminar it held in London this week, its adoption looks like being a long, slow process....

It often takes businesses several years to roll out a new version of Microsoft Windows, especially if they have a lot of in-house applications to test. With a large section of the market still moving from XP to Windows 7, there are relatively few prospects for enterprise-wide Windows 8 projects. None the less, Erwin Visser, Microsoft's senior director for Windows Commercial, reckons that "customers can start bringing in Windows 8 alongside Windows 7", and he gave some examples of how that could work.

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer launching Windows 8 to consumersSteve Ballmer launching Windows 8 to consumers Credit: Microsoft

Traditionally, businesses have preferred to have all their users on the same version of Windows, to reduce support costs. It's not clear whether this still makes sense when BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategies are introducing dozens of incompatible systems. However, Microsoft's basic argument is that Windows 8 is just the same as Windows 7 from the business software point of view. There is no need to retest software for Windows 8 if it has already been tested in Windows 7 for compatibility, security and compliance.

This glosses over the introduction of Internet Explorer 10, though this may not be a significant problem. In fact, IE10 could have the advantage in being closer to Google Chrome and Firefox in terms of support for modern standards. It's not the same sort of problem as moving from IE6 to a later version.

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