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1What Microsoft Must Reveal About Windows 8 At BUILD

1. App Store TalkMuch has been made about the availability of an application store in Windows 8. The hope is that the upcoming operating system will allow users to download software without being required to buy a disk. Currently, Mac OS X Lion offers access to an application marketplace. At BUILD, hopefully details on Microsoft’s answer to that will be revealed.

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2. A Guarantee On VersionsOne of the biggest problems with Windows over the years has been the sheer number of versions Microsoft has offered. Mac OS X Lion, on the other hand, is available in only one version. Hopefully Microsoft can learn that lesson and only deliver one or two options for Windows 8. If the company releases too many versions, confusion will once again set in.

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3. Why Windows 8’s UI Is BestMicrosoft’s decision to bring in some Windows Phone 7 elements to Windows 8 is a risk. For years, enterprise users, as well as consumers, have grown accustomed to the same basic design of Windows. Now, with major changes afoot in Windows 8, Microsoft will have to sell those folks on its new design. Hopefully at BUILD, it can make that case more effectively.

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4. How Windows 8 Will Help the EnterpriseThe corporate world was loath to adopt Windows Vista after it launched due to incompatibility and security problems. However, companies have been quite willing to adopt Windows 7. With Windows 8 just around the corner, how does Microsoft expect to get those same firms to invest in its new solution? At BUILD, it should make that clear.

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5. Why Should Consumers Ditch Windows 7?It’s a similar story on the consumer side. Windows 7 has proven wildly popular among consumers who don’t want to try out Mac OS X or Chrome OS. But with the economy struggling to turn around and consumers increasingly turning to tablets rather than PCs, Microsoft will need to do a better job of persuading consumers to opt for Windows 8.

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6. What about HP?When it comes to VARs especially, there is a great deal of uncertainty in the PC landscape right now. HP last month revealed that it’s planning to spin off its PC business, and there has been some speculation that other companies might inquire about buying it up. Perhaps BUILD can be the place where Microsoft and HP assert their PC alliance, and clear up all the confusion surfacing in the marketplace right now. HP’s future is in doubt, and Microsoft needs to allay some fears.

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7. Consider Digital OptionsOne of the more interesting moves on Apple’s part was the launch of Mac OS X Lion as a digital download. The company was able to do that because of its Mac App Store. And although Microsoft doesn’t have an application marketplace just yet, perhaps the company can discuss at BUILD its possible plans to offer digital versions of Windows itself. Yes, discs will very much be a part of Windows 8, but there’s no reason Microsoft can’t eventually offer digital downloads of the OS, as well.

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8. Crafting the Sales PitchMicrosoft finds itself in a somewhat enviable position right now. As mentioned, the company’s customers aren’t necessarily so ready to jump on a new operating system. And so far, Microsoft has kept most of Windows 8’s secrets close to the vest. But at BUILD, it might need to modify its strategy and start getting down to the business of selling Windows 8. At present, there’s no good reason Microsoft has given for anyone to deploy Windows 8 when it launches next year. That must change. And it should start to change at BUILD.

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9. SecurityLike it or not, Microsoft will need to defend its security strategy with each new version of its operating system. In Windows 8, Microsoft has promised stronger security, but so far, the company hasn’t fully outlined exactly how it will achieve that. BUILD seems like a perfect place for the company to discuss that.

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10. A Focus On TabletsSince BUILD is all about getting the most out of Windows, wouldn’t it make sense for Microsoft to discuss how Windows 8 will leverage the popularity of tablets? Windows 7 has so far been unable to capture any significant market share in the tablet space. But Windows 8 is expected to change all that. If so, Microsoft will need to make that clear at BUILD.