It's not who invents the thing per se. It's who perfects it. For example, Apple took the idea of the PC from Xerox and made a hit with it, then Microsoft ran with it for a decade or more after that. Apple and others may have tablets in the market already, but there is obviously room for a new player and possible front-runner in this game. After all, the iPad is hardly perfect. Don't believe me? Read my InfoWorld colleague Galen Gruman's "Where the iPad lets you down: Top 12 complaints."
Knowing that a third-party app or appliance that works on Windows 7 will also work on Windows 8 gains a huge sigh of relief from me. This was a kill point for Windows Vista. Granted, there were some issues with the OS itself, but Vista was mostly crushed because of negative press (often inaccurate) combined with many third-party vendors holding back and not creating the enhancements and drivers needed to run their apps or appliances. Shims didn't always cut it, and people dug in with Windows XP -- until now. Windows 8 removes that concern with its Windows 7 compatibility mode (for Intel-based devices), so it will be adopted more quickly.
Having the ability to immediately create applications that function across platforms is awesome. It'll ensure a high volume of developer interest in working with Microsoft's new OS because the customer base is already there and the reward for being able to code once, sell to any platform, is high.
My wish list for Windows 8
One thing I'd love to see is for all desktop systems to run on a Type 1 (bare-metal) hypervisor. From the enterprise deployment side, that would make central management of this new deployment much easier. NxTop from Virtual Computer is already ahead in this game, and it is worth making friends with NxTop in preparation for Windows 8.
I'm also looking forward to the group policy side. For companies that are struggling to control the various device types in their organization (iPads, Androids, and so on), the next flavor of Windows Server should provide group policies that, out of the box, allow you to control people's phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops through policy settings. Mac OS X Lion Server will do so for Apple devices when it is released next month, but you can bet it won't handle the scale or complexity of an enterprise.
When it comes to Windows 8, remember that we are not looking at beta software yet, just demos. It's much too soon to judge Windows 8, but I like the fact that Microsoft took its time on this version. It has watched everyone else make mistakes and it's seen how to avoid doing the same. If Microsoft is smart -- and it is -- it will release a game-changing product.
This article, "With Windows 8, businesses can have just one OS for every device," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.