As media reporting on Windows 8 continues to increase, you might be wondering “Should my small business upgrade to Windows 8 when it is available?”
The recommendation of the team here at ESG is simply “no”. We advise bringing all your systems up to Windows 7 (removing any remaining Windows XP or Vista machines) and avoiding the deployment of Windows 8. We base this recommendation on several factors:
- We have been testing Windows 8 for over a year now. We have seen it evolve very slowly and despite heated discussions and strong feedback from the beta testers like ourselves, it does not represent a significant improvement over Windows 7 for most tasks.
- Windows 8 will have a steep learning curve for business users due to the Metro interface that essentially replaces the Start Menu.
- The Metro interface is not ideal for business tasks and does not work with programs like QuickBooks. The classis desktop interface will work with most legacy software but the constant switching between Metro and classic is tedious and unproductive.
- Unless you are running a touchscreen-enabled device, most of the ‘improvement’ in Windows 8 will actually result in lost time/efficiency.
Some industry leaders like Gabe Newell of software company Valve believe Windows 8 may be “a catastrophe”. We think that is a little over the top. We will continue to monitor Windows 8 as it reaches the market. We do not expect it to be the outright disaster that Vista was.. however we do expect Windows 8 to be largely skipped by businesses big and small.