Will business give Microsoft the business?

The Microsoft Windows 8 operating system is on display at a press conference on October 25, 2012 in New York City.

So, you get yourself all up to speed in your private high-tech life. You've got the newest smartphone. A tablet and an ultra-light laptop. All your music and documents floating safely up in the cloud.

Then you go to work and it's like time stands still. Vintage Blackberries. Bulky desktops. A version of Windows that's seven years old.

There’s a reason companies take so long to catch up with technology, says Brad Rosenberger, the director of IT at American Public Media, Marketplace’s parent company. And there's a reason it may take a long time for them to catch up with Windows 8, which debuts tomorrow. In order to change an operating system, Rosenberger says, a company must make sure all the other software they rely on is compatible with it.

“I’ll give you an example of that, in the case of our financial applications the financial venders that you work with have to support that OS,” Rosenberger said.

By “OS,” he means operating system. And by “financial vendors,” Rosenberger means the software companies that help us keep our books and cut our checks. And then, there’s the software that let’s produce radio stories.

“Sometimes it can take a year or two before those vendors provide the support necessary for the new OS,” Rosenberger said.

These are just a few of the reasons why American Public Media is only now making the switch to Windows 7.

Windows 8 runs on both tablets and desktops. Chris Silva, an analyst at the Altimeter group, says companies that rely on tablets to do business will probably change but that’s not a lot.

“A small percentage of enterprises that use Windows will make the switch to Windows 8,” Silva said.

Microsoft is making a bet. Most business computers run on Windows. At the same time, analysts predict that consumers will increasingly ditch laptops for tablets. And if they want to use the tablet for work -- and run all the software used at work -- they’ll chose one that runs Windows 8.

“They’re really trying to hit the consumer,” Rosenberger said. “And hit the executive and get them to bring theses devices in this is in and tell their IT departments, this is what I want to use now, it's running Windows.”

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

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