Why IT will hate Windows 8

A new UI, demand for new hardware, and multidevice sharing will freak out companies seeking to save money, maintain control

All those IT people who wish the iPad would die already, you ain't seen nothing yet. Microsoft is promising that Windows 8 and its Metro-based UI will run on any PC that runs Windows 7, but that's a meaningless promise. To take real advantage of Windows 8 you need new hardware, either touchscreen PCs or touchscreen laptops. Users will very likely want Windows 8 tablets, especially if you've been denying them iPads due to security and management reasons.

In these tough times, most companies aren't willing -- or able -- to pay for new equipment. As a result, users will end up running old hardware and software, and they'll feel they're more and more hobbled by IT. They may bring in fewer rogue iPads, but only because they'll bring in rogue Windows 8 tablets instead.

Likewise, if Apple's iCloud freaks you out, wait till users start syncing their home and work PCs and tablets via Microsoft's Windows Live service and its online Skydrive storage. Microsoft says Live's credentials are solid, but even if that reduces unauthorized access, that still means users' data will easily flow in and out of your company. You could deploy very strong Windows management capabilities as a buffer -- but that translates to further investment on the server side.

When the iPad gave users a weapon to pierce through the corporate technology wall, IT grumbled but could take solace in the fact that Apple's corporate presence was trivial at best. Not so with Windows -- it's the "consumerization of IT" threat gone nuclear.

Of course, that's the fear-based reaction. Apple may have given it voice, but the transition to user-driven computing is neither new nor bad. It just is. Smart IT can adapt to this reality constructively, using policy-based approaches. The rest will shake their fists harder, one toward Cupertino and the other toward Redmond.

This article, "Why IT will hate Windows 8," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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