Even though Windows 7 is performing extremely well around the world as the fastest-selling version of Microsoft’s operating system ever, the company already is working on Windows 8.
For now, it has been relatively tight-lipped about the features Windows 8 will bring to the table, but it expects to make it available to customers in about two years. Between now and then, the company will be doing everything it can to build upon the success of Windows 7.
Exactly how it will achieve that goal is unknown at this point. The marketplace is changing rapidly, and some of the ideas that might have worked in 2010 won’t necessarily work in 2012, when new products and software are available to customers. Realizing that, Microsoft needs to think about bringing several features to Windows 8 that will help it stay atop the highly competitive software market.
Read on to find out what kind of features the software giant must make available in Windows 8 when the software finally launches in a couple years.
1. A Mac App Store-Like Offering
When Apple showed off the new Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, it also unveiled the Mac App Store. That marketplace will allow developers to create programs in the same way they would on the iPad for Mac OS X. Consumers will be able to download apps at a negligible fee and get the kind of functionality they’ve come to enjoy on Apple’s mobile products. If that store is successful, Microsoft will have no other choice but to follow suit. It will simply become a necessity.
2. Far better security
Windows 7 is far more secure than Windows Vista was when that operating system launched. But that doesn’t mean that Microsoft doesn’t have more improving to do. Quite the contrary, the software company needs to ensure that Windows 8 builds upon the security advances that Windows 7 brought to the table. If it succeeds, Microsoft will go a long way in solidifying its position as a leader in the OS market.
3. Faster boot times
With the release of the MacBook Air, Apple is making it much quicker for consumers to boot up their machines. Granted, that is due in main part to the device’s solid-state drive, but it’s one of the features most consumers covet. Realizing that, Microsoft must make Windows 8 more efficient at booting up. Today’s technology customers penalize delays on the Web and in software. Microsoft must keep that in mind.
4. Real tablet support
Although Microsoft is offering a version of Windows 7 on tablets, there is little debating that that operating system leaves much to be desired on the tablet platform. In fact, many that have used Windows on a tablet have found that the OS provides a relatively unreliable experience compared with iOS or Google’s Android operating system. Windows 8 can’t follow its predecessor’s lead.
Keeping an Eye on the Cloud
5. Windows 7 mode
One of the best features of Windows 7 is the ability to run a virtual version of Windows XP on the operating system. That has helped Microsoft increase enterprise adoption and keep employees productive while they’re trying to learn a new operating system. With Windows 8, Microsoft should deliver a virtual version of Windows 7. After all, if it’s drastically different than its predecessor-and it probably will be-giving users something they feel comfortable with is probably a good idea.
6. An anti-OS mentality
Microsoft must acknowledge that the future of the operating system market will be ruled by consumers that care less about the operating system than the device they’re using. Previously, computers mattered little. But now, the OS is taking a backseat to the computer. If Microsoft can build its operating system with that reality in mind, it can go a long way in keeping Apple’s Mac OS X at bay.
7. Cloud considerations
The cloud is undoubtedly the future. And although Microsoft has been slower to bring its services there than it should have been, it must realize that Windows 8 should include a strong cloud component. By then, consumers and enterprise customers will expect some Web-based productivity features. If Microsoft doesn’t come through, users might just look elsewhere for options.
8. The privacy opportunity
Privacy is quickly becoming a major issue on the Internet. It seems that with each passing month, another company is being hit hard by privacy advocates who say that the firm overstepped its bounds. But with the right strategy in place, Microsoft can use Windows 8 to its advantage by being a privacy-focused firm. After all, Windows is used by the vast majority of Web users around the world. If Microsoft can be an agent of change in the privacy field, that can go a long way in improving its standing among consumers and enterprise customers. Plus, it’ll only help its reputation in broader overall field of security.
9. A decidedly anti-Google stance
Microsoft has two options with Windows 8: It can be Microsoft and deliver the same basic products it has offered in the past with strategic improvements, or it can try to follow Google’s lead in the software market. When it comes to Windows 8, Microsoft has no choice but to be anti-Google. Never has there been a clearer line drawn between two companies than the line that separates Google and Microsoft. If Microsoft tries to blur that line and become too Google-like, it will face annihilation at some point in the future. But if it sticks to being Microsoft, it might just overcome the tidal wave that Google is bringing down on it.
10. Fewer OS versions
Microsoft has confused customers throughout the years with all the separate editions it has released with each new Windows version. These various additions allow Microsoft to address specific markets at different price points, but they really seem to contribute to market clutter that backs up the distribution chain. It can be difficult for consumers and business customers to sort out all the options. With Windows 8, Microsoft can’t do that. It should simply offer