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Others aren't as optimistic about Microsoft's tablet efforts. "I doubt that partners will wait for Windows 8 to be deployed to deliver tablet PCs. Why? Because the designs of any PC have a limited shelf life and when Windows 8 ships a year from now there will be new designs," said Chris De Herrera, a business control manager at Bank of America who operates the PocketPC FAQ Website.
"Consumers are looking to iPad and Android Tablet PCs for features like instant on, easy-to-use applications, push e-mail with notifications, calendar notifications, etc., that Windows doesn’t have right now. Also it's not clear whether or not Windows 8 will address these features either," he said.
The Windows 8 demonstrations also raise the question of whether it's too soon for a new major release of the desktop operating system, given that Microsoft released Windows 7 to manufacturing in July 2009.
Sobel at Evolve Technologies noted that Windows 8 won't be out until sometime next year, putting it two-and-a-half or even three years after Windows 7. "That's a pretty reasonable amount of time," he said, pointing out that most software vendors, pushed by Software-as-a-Service vendors who upgrade their applications several times a year, are moving to a more rapid pace of product releases.
"I don't think there is much danger here, but each organization is different in how they handle OS upgrades," said Serzo at Primary Support Solutions. "The fact that Windows 8 will be able to handle Windows 7 applications, drivers, etc, will make the transition far simpler than a Windows XP to Windows 7 migration."
But De Herrera suspects that Windows 8 will have new hardware requirements given its improved graphics speed and the improved user interface. (Microsoft has not disclosed any details about Windows 8's requirements.) Such changes, along with the chore of testing and rolling out a new OS, has pushed many companies to implement every other Windows release -- and in some cases every third release.
"I think this is a case of Microsoft being damned if they do and damned if they don't," said Kretzer at Bold Data. "They were rightly taken out to the shed for the long gap in upgrades from Windows XP, but we all know how long corporate America tends to take to do major software updates and rollouts. However, I think that Microsoft needs to do this -- they've been pegged as a stagnant company that lacks innovation and market sensitivity."
Others think it may be a bit too soon for a new Windows release. "The vast majority of my customers are just now accepting Windows 7," said Paragone at KK Enterprises. "Windows 8 should be a Windows 7-Plus and not a new release."
"I would like to see Windows 8 released at a later date," agreed Fisher at Inacom. "Between the Vista bomb and the recession, it seems the collective memory of most people skips over Vista altogether. Windows 7 is solid, and a great operating system that tends to make end users happy with Microsoft again. Microsoft risks scaring non-technical end users that are resistant to change. Early 2012 seems too soon as people are just now starting to buy large numbers of Win7 computers from us. I wouldn’t mind seeing it cook for another year for an even slicker product.
"But at the same time when Microsoft is ready to launch they can’t put all that investment on hold, can they?"