A roundup of Australian Windows 8 trials


blog Now that Windows 8 has launched in Australia, what do we know about enterprise trial deployments of the technology? Surprisingly, quite a lot. A lot of people might believe that Windows 8 is the new Windows Vista, but when you look around on the actual ground, it appears as though major Australian organisations are at least dabbling with Microsoft’s new operating system opus.

Firstly, ZDNet reports that Commonwealth Bank of Australia is trialling Windows 8 on some machines, MYOB is deploying it and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is planning a wider rollout. But the Credit Union Australia is more skeptical, ZDNet reports. According to iTNews, ING Direct, the Red Cross, corporate advisory firm McGrathNichol and technology integrator Data#3 are planning to adopt Windows 8 on the desktop. The Financial Review lists Harbour City Ferries and Westpac as eventual Windows 8 adopters, although the bank is reportedly still mainly using Windows XP (no real surprise there).

The interest from major organisations in Windows 8 in Australia is in stark contrast to the situation when Windows Vista launched back in 2007. At the time, only a very small number of organisations expressed any interest in Vista at all (notably, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service), with the vast majority of Australian organisations ignoring the operating system and waiting for the improved Windows 7 release.

Personally, I suspect that the interest from Australian organisations in Windows 8 stems from the ongoing revolution in end user computing caused by the strong uptake in the consumer market of Apple’s iPad tablet. Right now, many chief information officers are struggling to integrate the iPad into their Windows-dominated corporate IT environments, and Windows 8 offers a potential migration path; it seems feasible that laptop and even perhaps desktop PC fleets can become more synergistic with tablet environments through Windows 8.

We’ve already seen some combination tablet/laptop devices launched by OEM vendors with this in mind, and the ongoing uptake of Windows Phone 7-based devices in Australian enterprise fleets goes someway towards backing this trend. Despite very public doubts by analyst firms such as Gartner, when it comes to the enterprise, Microsoft’s Exchange/Office/Sharepoint/Lync/Windows Server/etc ecosystem is just so all-pervasive. We’d suggest many Australian CIOs will see smartphones and tablets as just another logical extension of the Microsoft platform and deploy Microsoft devices accordingly — and despite Windows 8’s highly confusing user interface paradigm.

Know of any other Australian Windows 8 trials? Drop us a line through our anonymous tips form and we’ll add them to our list.

Image credit: Microsoft


  1. On a whim, I bought the upgrade and installed it on my laptop on the weekend. Apart from learning a few new shortcuts it changes very little and I largely don’t notice it’s on there.

    Arguably it’s actually better in some respects, e.g. to start a program I just hit the Windows key and then click on the program I want, rather than click Start->Programs->Folder->Icon. Quelle surprise!

    • @Dave H

      I’d agree broadly with this. I see the keyboard shortcuts as much faster than the old menu system. I find it much more intuitive.

      However of course, many consumers will be bewildered by it.

      • “many consumers will be bewildered by it” — they’re the ones that believe the ‘any’ key was renamed the space bar.

  2. I agree the reason companies are looking at windows 8 is for tablets where enterprise support isn’t just a tacked on afterthought.

  3. I think Windows 8 will be very popular in the enterprise – for tablets. If the choice is between Windows 8 or iOS, a system administrator will go for the former in most cases, especially if it’s a Microsoft shop to begin with (and most enterprises are to some extent).

    Whether the same holds true for desktop machines is another matter entirely, but I think it’s fair to say that the tablet/convertible form factor is going to become more important over time at the expense of the traditional desktop.

    • I dont know if Renai or anyone here was at TechED2012, but it was an impressive display of what exactly Windows 8 can do.

      In-built server support, change in per-seat licencing, easier and faster deployments and lets not forget the AMAZING HyperV+ Virtualisation thats built right into the OS. Extra security, Command-Line Only installation, modified build deployment and even silly things like being able to WindowsKey+P and shift the currently viewed window to a new monitor / TV / Laptop thats connected via Wifi or DLNA.

      This is base-line stuff thats included in the W8Pro package.

      Its like an admin’s xmas list all came at once… or at least mine did anyway :D\

      I’m not surprised enterprise is studying this hard, the majority will look to adopt immediately just because it addresses the most pressing concerns of most administrators and network engineering staff.

  4. Went to the Harvey Norman launch, and ended up buying a copy. Didn’t win a prize (but did make it onto TV), but decided to upgrade my ACER Notebook. Unfortunately it has switchable graphics, and Acer haven’t provided a Windows 8 driver for the switching… So its now running Intel graphics only, which isn’t so bad as I’m not currently using it for games, and someone has posted a Catalyst mod which sort of works.

    I’ve got the hang of the the Windows keys shortcuts, although there’s quite a few. It’s not too bad, although there are really are two modes – Windows 7 mode and Windows 8 mode. I’ve managed to customize the Start menu and downloaded a few apps. I suspect I’ll be living in Windows 7 mode for most of the time, untli the Apps I use (especially Office) are upgraded. In the meantime I’ve ordered a Surface.

  5. I’m considering a Surface, especially with the full membrane keyboard.

    It’s either that or go for an all out Ultrabook that I can use for games too.

  6. I went to JB Hifi today – there was not one ultrabook for Windows 8 with a touch screen.

    • @Oliver’

      That’s because there are only about 3 models that have that and, afaik, none are available in Australia yet.

      You can’t expect manufacturers to release a laptop/ultrabook BASED on an OS that has barely launched 4 days ago…..

      • Yep – lots of them, all designed for a mouse as far as I could see. I’ve used two Windows 8 touch screens so far, a giant HP one, and a Sony Vaio. Both a snip at 2 grand.

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