Microsoft will release the public test version of its Windows 8 operating system (OS) today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
This is an update to the beta version, or developer preview, currently available from Microsoft, aimed at developers looking to code apps and plug-ins for the software.
Windows 8 features a tile-based design known as the Metro UI, and is designed for tablet devices and touch-screen interfaces. Although it is optimised for low-power devices such as tablets, it will also run desktop computers.
Many businesses using Microsoft software are still in the process of upgrading their IT estates to Windows 7, and there are doubts that many will make the jump to Windows 8 when the final build is made available, thought to be later this year.
Richard Edwards, principal analyst at research firm Ovum, told Computing that most businesses will wait to see how the operating system peforms in the consumer market before making a decision about their own upgrade paths.
"I don't think the enterprise is the ideal place to be experimenting with a new OS. The traditional, more hesitant IT manager will wait to see how it pans out on the consumer market."
He added that he expects Microsoft to roll out to one or two early adopters, most likely recognisable firms, but that the majority will wait until well into 2013 before deciding whether to deploy it.
However, he added that enterprises may consider the software to run their tablet devices, but Microsoft may struggle to compete with Apple and Android.
"It's going to be very tricky for Microsoft to compete. The user experience will be fundamental to the success or failure of the OS. If the experience doesn't surpass that which we're already used to [with iOS and Android], Windows 8 will be regarded as a lame duck."
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