4) ... BUT LIMITED APPS
While Windows 8 is very appealing, a few cautionary notes are in order.
App availability is a problem. To reap the full benefits of Windows 8, developers have to write or rewrite apps to take advantage of its abilities. This is still a work in progress.
There is also the issue of compatibility: You'll want to make sure your vendors, B-Ds and custodians are Windows 8-compatible.
There are other stumbling blocks. Due to the level of customization Windows 8 offers, there is a greater learning curve than there is for iOS. A little training can go a long way, though.
Some critics also view the new Metro interface as a disadvantage. I don't think it is, but if you do, you can bypass it easilyand work from a screen that is almost identical to the Windows 7 desktop.
There is also a great deal of confusion around the Microsoft Surface tablet, which runs on an ARM processor - the same processor that powers most popular mobile devices. Windows-compatible programs will not run on the current Surface. (The Surface Pro, due out soon, will run on an Intel processor, so it will be able to run most current Windows applications.)
5) THE LONG TERM LOOKS GOOD
I expect advisors will gravitate to Windows 8 sooner rather than later. I know from the recent Financial Planning Tech Survey that 37% of respondents still operate one or more computers running Windows XP, an operating system launched in August 2001. What these users may not know: On April 14, 2009, Windows XP reached the end of its mainstream support period. Microsoft currently provides monthly security updates for XP, but free technical support, warranty claims and design changes are no longer offered.
Not convinced? On April 8, 2014, all support for XP security patches and hotfixes is scheduled to end. After that, one could argue that it would be irresponsible to use XP in a business setting.
I believe the release of Windows 8 will encourage a new round of technological innovation for advisors. Those who adapt the system sooner are likely to be the greatest beneficiaries of these innovations.
Joel Bruckenstein, a Financial Planning editor-at-large, is co-creator of the Technology Tools for Today newsletter, conference series and technology guides for advisors, including the new Technology Tools for Today's High Margin Practice. For more info, visit JoelBruckenstein.com.