Microsoft does the business with Windows 8 tablets

Windows 8

Microsoft has been waxing lyrical about the business benefits of its soon-to-be launched ARM-powered Windows 8 tablets, as the hype surrounding the release of its next operating system grows.

During a conference call with journalists yesterday, Erwin Visser, senior director of the Windows Commercial Business Group, repeatedly stressed the enterprise friendliness of Windows 8.

For every business need, there will be a Windows 8 device to support it.

"It's the only [operating system] platform in the world that gives [users] the large and unique choice their business requires," said Visser.

"For every business need, there will be a Windows 8 device to support it."

Turning his attention to the range of tablet devices Windows 8 will run on, Visser said the firm's OEM partners are working on a range of vertical-specific form factors.

These include devices that can be easily sanitised for use by hospital workers and ruggedised tablets for telco engineers to use in the field, for example.

"Customers have been telling us that Windows 8 tablets are the [ones] they've been waiting for...and they work very well with their existing [Windows 7] infrastructure," said Visser.

Despite analysts describing the ARM-powered Windows 8 tablet, Windows RT, as a consumer device, Visser insisted the product would be a good fit for business users.

The reason for this is because Windows RT tablets will be "thin, light and sleek" and also boast a long battery life," he claimed.

These features should make the devices appeal to airline staff, who need tablets to deliver in-flight services, as well as field-based engineers and retail store workers.

"Following our conversations with customers, we [also] believe these devices will be [a good choice] for companies that let employees bring their own devices to work," he added.

One of the reasons analysts have previously dismissed RT as a consumer product is because the devices are incompatible with x86 desktop applications. However, Microsoft has found a way round this, revealed Visser.

"Windows desktop apps and Windows 7 apps will not run natively [on Windows RT] but we will still offer customers the opportunity to get access to those apps...using remote desktop services," he said.

"We can also give Windows RT full and seamless access to a host of Windows instants running in the datacentre or a particular desktop application using a technology called Remote App.

"Relative to other ARM devices, Windows RT will be the most compatible ARM offering in the marketplace," he added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.