When it comes to operating systems, there's no more important company than Microsoft. For years now, the software giant has been dominating the OS landscape around the world. And with nearly every release of its operating system, it has been able to improve upon its preceding launches. If nothing else, Microsoft understands the operating system space, and knows how to be successful in that market.
But Microsoft Windows 7 was arguably one of the most important launches in Microsoft's long and storied history. After launching Windows Vista, the market rebelled against Microsoft. Vendors allowed for "downgrade rights" to revert a computer back to Windows XP. Consumers didn't opt for Vista as much as the software giant would have liked. In addition, the enterprise practically ignored Windows Vista. It was bad all around.
With Windows 7, Microsoft fixed that. The operating system is what Vista should have been in the first place. And now that Microsoft has confirmed it's the fastest-selling version of Windows ever released, it's clear that consumers are happy with what they've found this time.
Even so, Windows 8 is just around the corner, and rumors are swirling about the upcoming operating system and what it will feature when it's likely released next year. Although details are relatively slim for now, one thing is for certain: Windows 8 will be even better than Windows 7.
1. It improves upon a nice operating system.
Windows 8 will not be a major update. Instead, the operating system will simply improve upon Windows 7. As mentioned, Windows 7 has been a hit among consumers and enterprise customers. From what's known about Windows 8 so far, it's clear that Microsoft doesn't want to fix what isn't broken. Windows 8 will look awfully similar to its predecessor and boast many of the same features. It will simply be an improvement over an operating system that already appeals to customers.
2. The security keeps improving.
With each subsequent operating system release from Microsoft, the company has improved security. After Service Pack 2 was released, Windows XP was quite secure. And although Vista faced some pitfalls at first, Service Packs helped secure that OS, as well. Windows 7 is arguably the most secure version of the operating system yet. As long as Microsoft continues along that path-and it will-expect Windows 8 to be even more secure than its predecessor.
3. The ARM compatibility is key.
At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the next version of Windows would support ARM-based devices. That is extremely important. Now companies that want to sell products using an ARM chip have the opportunity to use Windows. Not only could this move help Microsoft and its vendor partners, but it might also deliver more options for customers who want to use Windows. It's a win-win.
4. An application store, perhaps?
Speculation abounds that Microsoft plans to release an application store with Windows 8. If it does so, it will put its operating system on an even playing field against Mac OS X Snow Leopard and the upcoming "Lion," which will ship with the App Store built in. The future of desktop operating systems will include applications marketplaces. And it's nice to hear that Microsoft is willing to acknowledge this.