Calling Microsoft's latest operating system a success would be an understatement. In roughly a year and a half, Windows 7 surpassed XP as the most used operating system in the US and it's hailed as Microsoft's all-time fastest-selling OS, moving 300 million licenses as of January 2011. With Redmond recommitted to a three-year release cycle, Windows 8 is poised to arrive sometime next year -- but is anyone ready to pony up for another upgrade?
Most users seem thoroughly satisfied with Windows 7 as it represents a much-needed overhaul for XP and it addresses many of Vista's issues. Logic stands to reason that if Microsoft wants to lure customers away from Windows 7, its next operating system will have to take some risks -- and we all remember how that worked out for Vista. Based on Redmond's announcements and leaked pre-release builds, Windows 8 will bring the following changes:
- Windows Explorer gets the oft-ridiculed ribbon menu
- Cloud integration including Web-based storage via SkyDrive
- Native support for ARM's mobile processors (introed at CES)
- Touch optimized login screen, browser, Task Manager and more
- Portable Workspace - clone of your OS on a bootable USB drive
It doesn't take an expert to see that many of the updates are intended to make Windows more relevant in the mobile market. Considering full-fledged desktops and laptops are the meat and potatoes of Microsoft's Windows revenue, we assume some features are also instore for the standard user. Our question to you is: what will it take for you to purchase Windows 8? Will you buy it no matter what? Are there any changes you'd like to see?
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