Windows 7 is your mainstay; Windows 8 can fit in, too
Windows 7 is what you're really looking to migrate from as you finally retire your XP boxes. It's no so dramatic a leap, so users will not be completely lost, as they would be with Windows 8. But Windows 8 is perfect for folks who already use it at home and have begun taking it up at work, as well as those who want a tablet that is fully Windows but fully portable like an iPad. The two OSes can run whatever flavor of Office you have, and they can be managed by Active Directory. You can choose both.
But tell your people to steer clear of the Windows RT and Microsoft's Surface RT tablet. Although its that ARM processor promises a bit more battery life, it cannot be domain-joined, cannot have group policies applied, and cannot run standard Windows applications. Ultimately you end up using it as you would an iPad, which means you set up some kind of virtual desktop infrastructure and connect remotely to a floating OS that is now securable and maintained by IT. That's a lot of work you avoid by getting a Surface Pro or similar Windows 8 tablet.
Yes, I've heard the battery complaints from users of Intel-based tablets like the Surface Pro, but I'm confident Intel will rally here. In the meantime, I can plug my device in every few hours if necessary -- it's not like a power socket is hard to come by these days.
Why we're blue over "Blue"
I believe everyone is so ticked off about Windows "Blue" because deep down they want to see something great come from Microsoft. That doesn't seem to be "Blue." Some of us remember waiting on line for Windows 95. Some of us want Microsoft to just listen, get out of its insular ways, and give us an OS that truly knocks our socks off. We believe and hope Microsoft can rally.
If Microsoft doesn't come through and another platform emerges as the new enterprise leader, I know I'm in trouble: I'll probably go into hiding as I've made way too many enemies defending Microsoft to survive should it fall. It's in my best interest for Microsoft to make "Blue" more awesome than what has leaked so far. If Microsoft doesn't do that, then I'll have to pin my hopes on Windows 9.
Until then, Windows 7 makes a darn good operating system, with Windows 8 thrown in where it makes sense.
This story, "Forget about Windows 'Blue' -- stay focused on Windows 7," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blogand follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.