In his CeBIT keynote speech today, Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft Corp., showed how Windows 8 will bring together the potential of a tablet with the power of a PC. He also invited IT professionals around the world to test the recently released Windows 8 Consumer Preview, now available for download at http://preview.windows.com. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview offers a more robust experience for testing the world's most popular operating system and is available to the widest range of people yet following the initial release of the Windows 8 Developer Preview late last year. "Windows 8 will deliver no compromise experiences on a range of devices from tablets and PCs to desktops. It will give people functionality they love and the enterprise-grade capabilities that IT departments demand," Turner said. "We encourage IT professionals to begin using it to get a firsthand experience of how Windows 8 will give people a beautiful, fast and fluid experience with the mobility and familiarity they need to effortlessly move between what they want to do and what they need to do." "We believe Windows 8 will bring an evolutionary solution to Windows users that delivers business productivity, while helping IT to manage and secure new devices using their existing infrastructure and tools," said Al Gillen, program vice president, system software, IDC. "Windows 8 will help bridge the demands that end users are placing on IT departments with what IT wants for its business - a smooth transitional path to add tablet devices into an existing Windows client infrastructure." Windows 8 highlights for enterprise organizations include the following: - Great user experience. Windows 8 bridges the gap between a personalized experience for users and the security and management features that IT professionals trust. Features include the new Windows 8 Start screen and fully immersive Metro style apps. People can be more productive with both multitouch and traditional keyboard and mouse interfaces. Critical line-of-business apps also can benefit from an immersive full screen, allowing people to easily interact with the app. - Tablets without compromise. Windows 8-based business tablets are built for touch and are deeply personalized. Powerful, connected Metro style applications are the focal point to create an immersive experience that helps eliminate distractions while having the productivity benefits of a PC. In addition, it works well with a mouse and keyboard. It also enables organizations to use Windows 7 productivity and line-of-business applications, and IT departments can leverage their existing infrastructure to help manage, secure and support it. - New possibilities for mobile productivity. For people who are increasingly mobile, Windows 8 helps them stay connected and productive in a more secure way. Windows 8 includes Windows To Go - the ability to provide users with a full corporate copy of Windows 8 (along with users' business apps, data and settings) on a USB storage device. Windows 8 also includes improvements to DirectAccess and built-in mobile broadband features that natively support 3G and 4G telecommunication. And Windows 8 can stay always connected with Metro style apps. - End-to-end security. Features such as Trusted Boot and improved BitLocker drive encryption, AppLocker and claim-based access control help protect corporate data across the client device, the network and back-end infrastructure. - Advancements in virtualization. With Windows 8, users can get a virtualized experience with high-definition graphics, support for touch and support for USB devices on a local PC. It will be easier for IT departments to implement virtual desktop infrastructures in a more cost-effective way. In addition, Windows 8 includes Microsoft Hyper-V, a high-performing client virtualization technology that enables enterprise developers to develop, debug and test multiple configurations of apps and operating systems on a single PC instead of each configuration requiring its own PC. - Improved management. Windows 8 easily integrates into most existing client management infrastructures, and management tasks are easier with Windows PowerShell automation. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview will be available worldwide for download to users running Windows 7-based PCs in English, French, German, Japanese and simplified Chinese. As Tami Reller, chief financial officer and chief marketing officer, Windows and Windows Live Division, shares in this video at http://win8.ms/lfolnd, Windows 8 will give businesses a personalized experience that is both convenient and productive to fit well with today's changing work styles. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is available for download and evaluation at http://preview.windows.com. Additional resources and information are available at http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/business/ or http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/windows/.