Microsoft unveiled the Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Business just a few hours before the widely anticipated release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview. In addition to the predictable pablum, the report includes a few surprises. (See InfoWorld's guide to what you can expect in Windows 8.)
The guide emphasizes that "critical line-of-business apps can benefit from an immersive full screen," just in case the Metro interface comes as news to you. "Specific applications within the Windows Store can be allowed or blocked by using AppLocker. With the new Windows 8 Start screen, business data is at your fingertips. Enterprises can create their own Windows 8 apps that are immersive and real-time." In other words, it looks like we won't get the old Start menu; Metro will have to suffice.
One of the big surprises: Windows on ARM (WOA) devices won't be able to connect to domains: "The ARM-based version of Windows does not include the same manageability features that are in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, businesses can use these power-saving [WOA] devices in unmanaged environments."
Windows to Go's ability to boot and run a completely independent copy of Windows 8 gets the nod. "By creating a Windows to Go drive, you can include all of the applications that the employees use at work. When a user boots their PC from the Windows To Go drive, it creates a corporate desktop experience so they can quickly start working." Microsoft promises that the host PC can't get at data stored on the Windows to Go USB drive. No word on licensing requirements.
There's a bit of a nuance in the description of Internet Explorer 10 that leaves me scratching my head. "Internet Explorer is also plug-in-free. Line-of-business applications that require legacy ActiveX controls will continue to run in the desktop version of Internet Explorer. The desktop version can be easily accessed by tapping Use Desktop View in Internet Explorer." Note how there's no mention of everyone's favorite bête noire, Flash, nor its partner in crime, Acrobat Viewer. More than that, I'm surprised that Microsoft doesn't draw a distinction between the "32-bit and 64-bit versions" (we used to call them the Intel/AMD versions) of Windows 8, and the WOA version -- which won't allow any IE plug-ins, even on the desktop. Confusing.