Microsoft's Windows division head Julie Larson-Green, who replaces Steven Sinofsky, during a interview mentioned that Windows 8 was being planned before the iPad even existed.
When asked if Windows 8 was a response to the popularity of the iPad, Larson-Green said that Windows 8 entered planning stages back in June of 2009, at which point the iPad was merely a rumor. "I only saw the iPad after we had this design ready to go," Larson-Green adds.
"Before Windows 8 the goal was to launch into a window, and then you put that window away and you got another one. But with Windows 8, all the different things that you might want to do are there at a glance with the Live Tiles. Instead of having to find many little rocks to look underneath, you see a kind of dashboard of everything that's going on and everything you care about all at once. It puts you closer to what you're trying to get done," Larson-Green said.
Now that Windows 8 and Windows RT are generally available, along with a wide range of new tablets, convertibles and other innovative devices from a variety of manufacturers are becoming available. With this broad range of form factors, there's no "one size fits all" device, nor should there be.
To help businesses, Microsoft offered some broad guidance for how business users should think about buying Surface tablets, if and when they are interested in doing so.
For the purposes, Microsoft categoriese all current and existing Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets into three categories based on its processor, which have different capabilities: "Windows RT tablets with ARM System-on-a-chip; Windows 8 tablets with Intel System-on-a-chip (Atom) processors; and Windows 8 tablets with Intel Core processors."
Microsoft suggesting to consider following capabilities when choosing Windows 8 and Windows RT devices for business:
- "Mobility: For the best mobility, choose Windows 8 tablets with Intel Atom processors or Windows RT tablets that are lightweight and have long battery life.
- Workload: For heavier workloads, choose Windows 8 tablets with Intel Core processors that are more powerful and support larger amounts of memory
- Apps: When desktop apps need to be used, choose Windows 8 tablets with Intel Core or Intel Atom processors. (For heavier workloads, see above.) If corporate network connectivity is available, business users can make use of RemoteApp on all types of tablets, Visser said. "For the employees in certain roles that rely on a dedicated line-of-business app to perform their duties, Windows RT tablets with new line-of-business apps is a good option," he added.
- Connectivity: For the best corporate connectivity to corporate networks, choose Windows 8 tablets with Intel Core or Intel Atom processors running Windows 8 Enterprise to leverage DirectAccess.For occasional connectivity, choose Windows 8 tablets with Intel Core or Intel Atom processors that can automatically synchronize files using SkyDrive or SkyDrive Pro.
Visser noted that Windows RT tablets can connect to third-party VPN solutions using the built-in Microsoft VPN client using PPTP, L2TP, and IPSec/IKEv2 protocols. "If only e-mail access is required, all Windows tablet devices can use Exchange ActiveSync," he added.
- Always On: For "always on" connectivity, choose Windows 8 tablets with Intel Atom processors or Windows RT tablets that support Connected Standby.
- Manageability: For "full" manageability, choose Windows 8 tablets with Intel Core or Intel Atom processors that can be managed using Active Directory, Group Policy, and System Center Configuration Manager, allowing granular control and configuration of the device (including the ability to push out new versions of apps). For "simple" manageability, all types of Windows tablets can be managed via Windows Intune, Visser noted, with security and VPN settings pushed to the devices and line-of-business apps available for users to install as needed via a self-service portal or app.
- Governance: Security policies (including those for passwords and encryption) can be configured on all types of Windows tablets via Exchange ActiveSync policies," explains Microsoft.