Windows 8's Chances for Success: 10 Factors to Consider

NEWS ANALYSIS: Microsoft's Windows 8 is slated to be the biggest software launch of the year. But its success or even its possible failure will be determined by several factors.

Windows 8 is slated to hit store shelves on October 26. On that day, hardware manufacturers will start releasing a number of Windows 8 devices, including notebooks, desktops, and even tablets, will be made available. Microsoft, after years of promoting the software as the next big development in its operating system division, will finally have the chance to prove that it can actually deliver on Windows 8's lofty promise.

Outside of Microsoft, there are many people–both industry observers and analysts–that are trying to handicap the operating system's chances of success. Many of them are already predicting how the Windows 8 roll out will go.

But perhaps that's a mistake. Windows 8 hasn't even launched yet. There are a host of factors that will play into the operating system's chances of succeeding in the marketplace. Neglecting to consider these factors would be a grave mistake.

These are the factors that will have a hand in Windows 8's success or failure.

1. Tablets

With Windows 7, Microsoft lost its way in the tablet market. With Windows 8, however, it's making it clear that it wants to be a strong player in that space. In fact, the company itself has announced its own tablet, the Surface, to take on Apple's iPad. Tablets could very well make or break Windows 8.

2. An eye on Windows 7

Windows 7 came out of the gate at launch with a purpose: fix the issues that Windows Vista created. After becoming the top-selling Windows version to this point in Microsoft's history, it became clear that Windows 7 could deliver. But given that success and its popularity, could it actually hurt Windows 8?

3. What's the overarching pitch?

It's not clear right now what Microsoft's overarching pitch is for Windows 8. It's a new operating system, sure, but why should customers want to adopt it? More importantly, why should those folks buy a Windows 8 PC over a Mac? Until Microsoft makes clear what customers need to know, its software might be in some trouble.

4. Enterprise desire

The corporate world has been moving at an exceedingly rapid clip towards technologies that, years ago, it wouldn't even consider adopting. However, Windows is still a corporate favorite. The big question now, though, is how long will it take before enterprise adoption of Windows 8 gathers momentum? With many companies upgrading recently to Windows 7, their desire to add a new operating system now might be somewhat diminished.

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...