In the nature of Microsoft product updates, Windows 7 is entering its middle years. Generally, Microsoft comes out with a new update to Windows every three years and Windows 7 is currently 18 months into its game. In that time Microsoft has sold 350 million licenses to the operating system making it perhaps the fastest selling software of all time.
In a blog post on the 18-month mark of Windows 7, Microsoft says that nearly 90% of businesses are currently in Windows 7 migrations and that it is saving enterprises $140 per PC per year, a $131 return on investment. The operating system has made it to desktops, laptops, netbooks and yes, tablets. The growth has been spurred by the cheeky advertising campaign - "Windows 7 was my idea!" - and the mass of money that Microsoft has spent marketing the product. Yet, Windows 8 rumors have begun to surface and it looks like it will make its debut in the fall of 2012, right on schedule with Microsoft's three-year product cycle. What can we expect?
The best guess is that Microsoft is going to go the mashup route. Windows is the company's core product and it behooves it to make it as distinct and functional as possible and include things that will not be available to users of Mac computers or the features from operating systems like Google Chrome.
We have written a lot about the features expected in Windows 8, and the general feeling is that the OS will be more cloud-based, more mobile, have Kinect support and will try to integrate a lot of Microsoft's unified communications initiatives.
Features to Watch for in Windows 8 (Part 2)
With Windows 8, Microsoft will also, for the first time, support ARM-based Systems-On-A-Chip (SoC) along with its longtime use of x86 architecture. Given that Intel's Oak Trail processors for mobile are becoming smaller and more powerful, there is a good possibility of seeing variety of Windows 8 tablets coming in autumn 2012.