Microsoft: Why Businesses Will Want Windows Blue

Dennis Faas's picture

If Microsoft wants its Windows 8 operating system (OS) to be successful with business users, it will need to convince them that the new OS contains useful features not seen in previous versions of Windows.

Microsoft recently revealed that Windows Blue will revive the beloved Start button and will allow Windows 8 users to boot directly to the desktop.

However, at the TechEd conference currently being held in New Orleans, Microsoft focused exclusively on the features Windows Blue -- or Windows 8.1 -- will offer enterprise users.

Windows Azure, Windows Server Integration

First, Microsoft says Windows 8.1 will integrate Windows 8 with the company's cloud service, Windows Azure, and Windows Server. The advantage: this allows employees to use their own devices at work.

The advantage for workers is familiarity with a device. The advantage for employers is even more straightforward: they don't have to pay for employees' tablet computers and smartphones.

To make connecting personal tech devices to a business network easier, Windows 8.1 allows IT managers to access Active Directory, a feature associated with Windows Azure.

Microsoft says this system will allow IT managers to simply and carefully manage how employees' personal devices access a company network.

The most radical new feature is known as "Assigned Access," which can lock a selected device to a certain number or type of applications and system files on a network.

For example, a new employee will gain access to far fewer applications on a network than his or her boss.

Wireless Connectivity Expanded with Windows 8.1

Microsoft also pointed to a new wireless printing system called "Tap to Print" that makes it extremely easy for someone to connect a tablet or smartphone to a wireless printer. (Source:

Windows 8.1 will also bring a new wireless display technology called Miracast, which will allow users to display images, video, etc. using Bluetooth.

"It's great for your conference room presentation," noted Microsoft partner director, Iain McDonald. (Source:

We should get a closer look at all of these tools when Microsoft rolls out its developer preview of Windows Blue on June 26.

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