Microsoft's Windows 8: 10 Major Questions Still Unanswered

NEWS ANALYSIS: Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system is launching later this year, possibly in October. However, before the OS lands, there are a number of major questions Microsoft needs to answer.

It's not often that Microsoft launches a dramatically revised version of Windows. But when the software giant does€”as many expect with the launch of Windows 8€”it's big news. And just about every industry stakeholder€”from the company's consumers to enterprise users to competitors€”becomes interested in what the software will ship with and how it'll fare in an environment so tied to past ideas. Until all that's determined, however, many folks have questions.

The sheer number of questions that might arise in discussions on Windows 8 could surprise anyone. After all, with Windows Vista and Windows 7, just about everyone knew what they were getting. And although Microsoft tried to describe the operating systems as major departures from their predecessors, at the end of the day, they really weren't. But Windows 8 is a totally different story, and could dramatically impact how users interact with Windows.

Realizing that, several questions will need to be answered sooner rather than later. But which questions are more pressing than the others?

1. Will it live up to the security hype?

According to Microsoft and some prominent security experts, Windows 8 is really secure. The operating system is so secure, in fact, that users might only need Windows Defender to prevent malware from getting to the software. Is that really the case or will it fall short? Time will tell.

2. Can it work on tablets?

Microsoft's upcoming operating system is designed to work on desktops, laptops and tablets. So far, however, Windows hasn't worked all that well on tablets, and there's no telling if Windows 8 will suffer the same fate. Microsoft says it won't, but who knows if that's the case?

3. Will vendors really want it?

So far, a few vendors have already committed to Windows 8, including Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Lenovo. But the real question over time will revolve around their dedication to the platform. Those same companies fled Windows when Vista wasn't popular. Now that Windows 8 is shipping with a dramatically different user experience, customers might not adopt the operating system. And once again, vendors might not play nice with Microsoft.

4. How will the enterprise respond?

The corporate world is the biggest question mark facing Windows 8 right now. The enterprise has historically contributed significantly to the success or failure of a Windows operating system, and it'll be no different this time around. Will the enterprise embrace Windows 8 and make it a success, or will it stick with Windows 7?

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...