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Windows RT tablets, Windows 8 draw skepticism from TechEd tweeters

Colin Steele

All eyes were on Orlando this week as Microsoft held its annual TechEd conference, an expected coming-out party for Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets.

The company did launch the Windows 8 Release Preview during the

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show, but attendees and keynote watchers didn’t get much else in terms of news about the new operating systems. And the disappointment was evident to anyone following the #msteched Twitter hashtag during Tuesday morning’s keynote.

This week’s Consumerization Quotes capture the good, the bad and the ugly of what TechEd attendees and observers had to say about Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets:

“wow, you can zoom by using two fingers.....MY 1,5 YR DAUGHTER CAN DO THAT ON MY TWO YEAR OLD PHONE!!!! where's the news?”
Patrik Hansson, IT consultant, Hannells IT AB

Microsoft’s Linda Averett spent a good chunk of her Windows 8 demo time showing how to swipe (or “swoop,” as she called it) the screen and use other touch gestures. This technology has been around for years, however -- most notably on those pesky devices that start with “i” -- so it failed to dazzle much of the TechEd crowd.

“Why is secure boot being so proudly discussed while ignoring no domain join? Surely latter is more important.”
Jon Hassell, IT author

A big concern for IT is that Windows RT tablets won’t be able to join domains, the traditional approach to managing Windows PCs via Active Directory. That doesn’t mean IT won’t be able to manage Windows RT tablets; they’ll just have to do it differently. But how, exactly? TechEd attendees looking for some guidance during Tuesday’s keynote came up empty.

“Theme of #msteched - win8 is like Apple- Hyper-V is like vSphere - MS mantra seems to be ‘we took most of what they did and made it cheaper’ … And, in all fairness, that may make them a lot of money and gain huge popularity - it just isn't innovative”
David Davis, VMware evangelist, TrainSignal

Microsoft is rarely first to the market, but that hasn’t stopped the Redmond giant from succeeding. For proof, look no further than Windows and Internet Explorer. Still, past performance does not guarantee future success. Hyper-V has taken much longer than Microsoft would have liked to gain a sizeable customer base, and skepticism abounds over Windows 8’s Metro interface and Windows RT tablets in general.

“MS stance is that all devices coming out support touch... Fair enough, but enterprises don't want to replace thousands of desktops”
Gunnar Berger, research director, Gartner

Few organizations upgrade their desktops as soon as a new version of Windows is available. They typically wait until at least the first service pack, when most of the kinks are worked out. Add in hardware upgrades -- either to take advantage of Windows 8’s touch interface, or to deploy Windows RT tablets -- and the next round of OS migrations could go significantly slower than usual.


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