With many Microsoft customers still struggling to migrate from XP, it's no surprise that Windows 8 is taking baby steps into the enterprise.
The Windows 8 team was out in full force in Europe last week, spreading the word about the virtues of the new OS in the enterprise. A press event in London featured a panel made of representatives from three participants in Microsoft's First Wave adoption program. The panelists -- Peter Scott from British Telecom (BT), Edwin MacGillavry from the Dutch Public Prosecution Service, and Vincent Santacroce from Poste Italiane -- explained how they were using Windows 8.
The sticky part is that, even though it's understood that these are pilot projects, the customers are using Windows 8 clients in quite small numbers for specific applications. Erwin Visser, Microsoft's senior director for Windows Commercial, told ZDNet that having operating systems coexist is no problem. "Customers can start bringing in Windows 8 alongside Windows 7."
But it looks like it will be a drawn-out and messy migration process, since even the marquee customers have not fully migrated to Windows 7 yet.
BT has distributed 5,000 convertible Panasonic Toughbooks running Windows 8 to field engineers, Visser said in a Microsoft blog post. BT has also implemented specific Windows 8 features like Virtual Smartcard, DirectAccess, and Mobile Broadband to improve user productivity. But Scott said the majority of his company's 89,000 employees run Windows 7, and a "large selection" are still on Windows XP.
Poste Italiane is a bit more invested in Windows 8. Visser wrote that it is already using four specific apps: "one for CRM, another for marketing management, one for georeferencing and a unique Kinect app in their postal office that consumers can use to order items." So far, these apps are being used on only 60 devices, though that figure is expected to increase to 500 by yearend. And Santacroce told the panel that the postal service is still upgrading a staggering 95,000 PCs from XP to Windows 7.
It looks like Microsoft users will be encountering a mishmash of operating systems, and even those who would like to try Windows 8 will most likely use it as an adjunct to a core OS. As an IT professional, does this give you more options or just a big headache?