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Gartner analyst Mike Silver also believes the re-designed look and feel of Windows 8 could make enterprises reluctant to adopt it. New technologies, especially those that look different from what end users are accustomed to, often mean more dollars need to be pumped into training resources.
"[The Start Menu button] is something that other vendors have come around and put back anyway. It created a lot of controversy and maybe that's good thing -- any news is good news," Silver said. "But, it created a lot of controversy and probably has given people some second thoughts about deploying [Windows 8], because in the enterprise, they don't like change that much. Any change that is in front of the user is something that needs to be trained and explained, and that equals cost for organizations."
Microsoft, for its part, told CRN that Windows 8 was designed to "be easy and intuitive," and that usability studies from more than 127 countries have shown that it is easy to learn and use.
"With over 16 million active preview participants, Windows 8 is the most tested, reviewed and ready operating system in Microsoft's history," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
Still, some Microsoft partners, such as Joseph Awe, president of Exton, Penn.-based solution provider TechBldrs, feel that the stark differences between Windows 8 and prior Windows releases may hurt its adoption in the enterprise. Awe, specifically, feels that the software's touch-optimized UI may slow adoption, as many businesses will have to upgrade their hardware to ultrabooks and other touch-ready PCs to take full advantage of this feature.
"Windows 8 and ultrabooks have to go hand in hand," Awe told CRN. "Without ultrabooks and their [touch] technology, Windows 8 is dead in the water."
Awe said he hopes the departure of Sinofsky, who drove the marriage between touch and Windows 8, will help Microsoft shake its "myopic view of touch driving everything," or at least blend the new touch experience with a more traditional Windows model.