Windows 8, which should arrive in early-2012, has yet to receive much media attention. That’s probably because the most exciting thing we’ve heard about it so far is that it 'might' have an 'app store', and other leaks have all been centered around performance improvements (which are a given).
Microsoft has a lot riding on Windows 8. Windows Vista hurt Microsoft’s reputation (rightly or wrongly), and Windows 7 was its saviour. Windows 8 needs to be better than Windows 7 in ways that consumers can see, understand, and experience, and it needs to give consumers a reason to upgrade (or cross-grade) for it to equal or surpass Windows 7. The software giant's latest release of Windows has "skyrocketed" PC sales, and scores a rating of "94 percent customer satisfaction", according to CEO Steve Ballmer.
For Windows enthusiasts, it’s good to know that Microsoft believes that the team behind Windows 7 can repeat that product's success. At the Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting (July 2010), Ballmer spoke on following the success of Windows 7: "We built the team that I think has a very strong capability now to repeat – not easy – but to repeat the kind of great work that delivered Windows 7 itself, which I think as an investor is an important capability for you to think about."
Leaked: The official Windows 8 logo (various sources)
In the last few years, Microsoft has seen a lot of change – with the departure of Gates, and then Bach and Allard in recent months, and with constant management shuffling, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft pulls it’s resources together to make Windows 8 the success that many are expecting it to be.