2A Web-Based Version
With Google planning to deliver a Web-based operating system, Chrome OS, in the coming months, Microsoft has no choice but to answer with an online operating system of its own. But it doesn’t need to rush. Although Chrome OS will have a head-start, Microsoft can respond by offering a full-fledged version of Windows 8 online. Windows will work with desktops, unlike Chrome OS when it launches. Nor will Chrome have the familiar feel of Windows. Google’s biggest problem is that the enterprise needs Windows. But that’s Microsoft’s greatest strength. By focusing on delivering a powerful, Windows 8 alternative to Chrome OS, Microsoft should be successful.
The first thing every Windows user wants is better security from Windows 8. For years now, Windows users have been forced to worry about the slightest issues wreaking havoc on their computers. In Windows 7, Microsoft has done a better job of increasing security, but it needs to go further. The days of simply being adequate in security are over. If Microsoft wants to be as successful in the next decade as it was in the past, it must find a way to make Windows 8 a far more secure operating system than Windows 7. It’s a necessity.
4The Same Design
Rumors have started surfacing that Microsoft plans to totally revamp Windows’ design in the new version of the operating system. That could be a mistake. Consumers and corporate employees are just starting to get used to the elimination of the Start button. Why would Microsoft want to totally revamp its operating system again? If nothing else, Microsoft must remember that the enterprise is central to its success or failure. And since the enterprise covets productivity over all else, it probably won’t want to see Microsoft drastically alter the way its OS looks. Windows’ design is just fine.
5A More Touch-Friendly Version
Microsoft has made Windows 7 a more touch-screen friendly operating system, but the company needs to do more. As Apple’s iPad sales figures show, tablets are the future of the mobile market. Realizing that, Microsoft must do a better job of offering touch-screen functionality in the next version of Windows 8. It wouldn’t be surprising if its top competitors, Google and Apple, attempt to invest even more heavily in that technology over the next couple years. When they do, Microsoft will have no choice but to respond in kind with Windows 8.
6Browser Choices Built-In
When the European Union forced Microsoft to offer browser choices to its customers, some panned the idea. But as more users have found better alternatives to Internet Explorer, it’s quickly becoming clear that offering the option of choosing a favored browser is good for everyone involved. Not only do Windows users get the best browser they can get their hands on, but it also makes Microsoft’s competition happy. And since Microsoft stands to lose very little by offering a browser ballot, the company is actually improving its operating system by giving users the choice to find the best software they can. A browser ballot in Windows 8 sounds like a nice idea that could go a long way in Microsoft’s relationship with both its users and lawmakers.
7Built-In Social Networking
Social networking isn’t going anywhere. By the looks of things, Facebook and Twitter will continue to lead the social charge. Microsoft might have an opportunity to improve Windows 8 and make the software a bit more appealing than Windows 7 by including social networking in the OS. It won’t be as difficult as some might think. Microsoft currently owns a small percentage of Facebook. It can leverage that relationship and offer a Facebook app on the operating system out of the box. If it can get Twitter on-board, it would be even better. But if not, Facebook will do just fine.
8Virtualization Across All Versions
One of the best features of Windows 7 is XP mode. It allows users to run a virtual copy of Windows XP in the OS. But the problem is, it’s only available in Windows 7 Ultimate, Professional, and Enterprise editions. In Windows 8, a virtual version of Windows 7 should be available in all versions of the operating system. Based on what Microsoft has said so far about Windows 8, the new operating system will be a major upgrade over Windows 7. But some folks might not like that. And considering companies will be investing in new technology before Windows 8 hits store shelves, they might be loath to switch to a new version of the operating system. A virtual Windows 7 running in every version of Windows 8 is simply a must-have.
9Better Support for Advanced Users
A key problem with Windows 7 for advanced users is that doing just about anything beyond simple tasks is somewhat difficult. Understandably, Microsoft wants to make it difficult for novice users to find advanced functions and start playing around. But by doing so, it’s hurting advanced users that want to be able to have more control over their operating system. In Windows 8, Microsoft should create an advanced-user mode that allows them to tweak the operating system far more efficiently than they can now. It will not only benefit advanced home users, it should also appeal to IT professionals that are tired of Microsoft’s desire to make its operating system simpler.
Currently, the vast majority of companies are using Windows XP. And although some might like to stay with the older operating system, outdated hardware is making it more difficult for companies to say “no” to Windows 7. Eventually, they will have no choice. But one of the biggest issues standing in the way of those who don’t want to replace hardware is the somewhat difficult migration from Windows XP to Windows 7. In future iterations of Windows, Microsoft needs to find a way to make the transition from an old operating system to new software much easier. Since Windows 8 will follow Windows 7, that migration shouldn’t be too difficult. But the easier the company makes it, the better for everyone involved.
11Far Fewer Versions
It’s about time that Microsoft stops offering so many versions of its operating system. Yes, there are different users that require different functions, but it’s too confusing for the average customer. And in some cases, the differences between two versions of Windows are so negligible that it makes little sense to split them up. In Windows 8, Microsoft should follow Apple’s strategy and offer just one version of the operating system. If it insists on two versions, it can offer Windows 8 for consumers and a Windows 8 version for enterprise customers. Two is more than enough.