By Robert Rutherford, founder and Managing Director of Quostar Solutions

Windows 8 is all new, not so much at the core but, in terms of user experience, it is completely different. There lies the biggest issue. The new Microsoft Metro interface is similar to the iPad.

It is pane-based, yet it still needs to flick back to the old desktop system as most applications aren't designed for it. That's a good thing, but you can expect the old desktop to slowly evaporate in later releases when people get used to it. In general, people don’t like change.

So, what's the case for Windows 8? Well, it's a choice to consider for those businesses that need to move from XP. Windows XP is going end-of-life from a product and support perspective in early 2014, so many businesses are going to have to make a move. In terms of timing, Microsoft has got the product launch down to a T. Windows 8 has landed at a time that creates a dilemma for many, mainly due to the fact that there are still a huge amount of Windows XP estates out there.

The general rule of thumb will be: stick with Windows 7 if you are already there - no matter what size of business. If you are using tablets (or want to use more tablets) then you may want to try Windows 8, but still leave the rest of your PC estate on Windows 7. It's a solid platform and you don’t need to move; I’d still keep buying PC's and laptops with Windows 7 for at least the next 18 months to two years. Don’t forget that new operating systems take time to iron out the bugs, at least until the first service pack is released, and then a good few months after that.

So, what's likely to happen? In short, there's going to be a big uptick in hardware sales within the next two years. That will come from servers, desktops, laptops and tablets. That's generally being driven by the need to move from XP, and actually from Vista too. The move from XP and Vista is also likely to lead to an uptick in software sales in Microsoft, particularly within the Office suite. If you are upgrading from XP then chances are you will also be looking at an update of the Office suite. If you don’t upgrade the desktops, then you are going to have to do it another way, perhaps through cloud. You don’t really have a choice but to move. There is no one else out there that competes with Microsoft.

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