Well folks, it’s finally here! This week we celebrated the release of Windows 8 across the globe, with a huge kick-off in New York where we officially launched Windows 8 to the world. Today, as of 12:01 a.m., Windows 8 is available for everyone to purchase – including small and midsize businesses. Today, I’d like to cover what Windows 8 means for small and midsize businesses, walk through some key features and highlight the benefits some of our customers are already seeing.
You’ve heard us talk about how Windows 8 is Windows reimagined – it delivers a beautiful, fast and fluid experience, along with a new user interface that responds equally well to touch as it does to keyboard and mouse. As you have probably heard, Windows 8 is available in a few editions but for small and midsize businesses the starting point is Windows 8 Pro. This edition was created specifically with small and midsize businesses in mind and delivers the experiences you want, along with new levels of productivity, security and mobility that your business needs.
Windows 8 Pro includes everything you love about Windows 7 Professional but is faster, higher performing and more beautiful. There are lots of great features included but here are some that I see being the most important to small and midsize businesses:
- Mobility was a key asset almost every small and midsize business we talked to was looking for. However, they didn’t just want a mobile solution, but a solution that offered mobility and productivity so they stay competitive. In Windows 8 Pro there are great new features such as built-in mobile broadband, Remote Desktop and Offline Files that make it easier for businesses to get connected and stay connected, whether you’re on-site with a customer, waiting for a flight or working from a coffee shop.
- Security continues to be a growing concern amongst businesses. Today, small and midsize businesses are doing more and more business online and the importance of protecting both customer information and sensitive business data is extremely important. That’s why improving end-to-end security was one of our top priorities. Windows 8 Pro includes built in features like Trusted Boot, Windows Defender and Windows SmartScreen, to ensure you’re secure from power-on to power-off. Additionally, Windows 8 Pro now has BitLocker drive encryption which was previously available only to larger enterprises. BitLocker helps protect business data on PCs with enterprise-grade encryption and it works silently in the background, helping to keep data safe without getting in the way.
- Compatibility is one of the strongest features of Windows 8 Pro as the operating system gives businesses a more simplified experience. First, Windows 8 Pro is built so it can deploy right alongside existing Windows 7 systems, meaning existing processes and tools for managing and updating systems will keep working the same way. Additionally, we understand that there are many apps that small and midsize businesses have grown to know and love on Windows 7, and that’s why we made sure that most of those Windows 7 apps are compatible with Windows 8 Pro.
- Finally, you can’t talk about Windows 8 Pro without considering the amazing new hardware that’s coming to market with this release. Whether it’s a notebook, a tablet or an all-in-one, whether it’s a touch-based system or a keyboard-and-mouse-based system, there will now be the broadest choice ever of exciting PCs and tablets available to fit every small and midsize businesses wants and needs. Business owners are telling us Windows 8 devices are the tablets they’ve been waiting for, as these devices bring together the convenience and mobility of a tablet with the productivity of a PC. I love hearing this from customers, because it’s exactly why we designed the system to work the way it does. I like to tell them “the tablet just got a promotion.”
Now that we’ve talked about a few of the key features for small and midsize businesses I wanted to share some of the things we’re hearing from our early adopters.
Shinola is a design and manufacturing company that was looking for an efficient solution to streamline its processes and reduce manufacturing costs to gain a competitive edge. The company began using tablets running Windows 8 Pro for shipping and receiving, inventory control, point-of-sales discussions, and monitoring plant security cameras. So far they have experienced improved mobility, enhanced productivity and increased usability and said, “[Windows 8 Pro] has the power and familiarity of a Windows desktop and support for enterprise-level capabilities, which gives us a competitive advantage as a startup.” Read their full case study here.
Make Architects, a UK-based architecture firm owned 100 percent by its employees, was looking for something that could run their sophisticated line-of-business software, as well as boost productivity across the company. After deploying Windows 8 Pro on a few tablets and PCs, they saw that employees embraced the new UI and noted that the OS is very stable, fast and offers so much more than other machines because of its mobility. They said, “The benefits of Windows 8 Pro are great. It’s certainly got the ‘wow’ factor. It’s absolutely amazing.” Read their full case study here, as well as their partner who they worked with Modern Networks.
Robert Graham is a US-based eclectic fashion leader in men’s and women’s luxury apparel with presence in top department and specialty stores around the world. In the sophisticated, greatly competitive and fast paced environment of fashion, Robert Graham highly values protecting intellectual properties. Executives travel constantly from factories to trade shows to customers as they create their collections each season and the loss of a laptop with new designs or sales information can be a catastrophic setback. eMazzanti Technologies, Robert Graham’s IT partner, recommended they try out Windows 8 Pro to ensure data and designs are secure as it has features like BitLocker and BitLocker-to-Go that help protect data. eMazzanti Technologies with Robert Graham are creating a future for the fashion industry and technology for years to come.
As you can see from some of our early adopters, people already love Windows 8 Pro, and I know that if you’re a small or midsize business who enjoys Windows 7, you’re going to also love Windows 8 Pro for its mobility, fast performance, security and the personalized experience it’ll give you.
I hope you will check out what Windows 8 Pro has to offer and if you have any questions please feel free to leave them below in the comment section. Also, if you’re a small business with five or fewer PCs you should look into the Windows 8 Upgrade Offer and see if you are eligible. For larger businesses, contact your authorized Microsoft reseller to get details on other upgrade offers.
Updated November 8, 2014 1:19 am