Windows 7 Vs Windows 8 Vs Chrome Vs Linux Vs ...
What's in an operating system? Quite a lot as it happens. For a large business or enterprise choice is probably mute as a site licence will cover the entire business. For small and perhaps even medium businesses a supplied OS will still be desirable. For most this will be Windows 7, choosing Microsoft can reduce support costs thanks to its well established deployment tools and widespread hardware support.
With Windows 8 out in October 2012 there will be a question of if businesses need to migrate to this. Microsoft will be pushing Windows 8 on desktop, phone and tablet alongside Office 365 with its cloud storage as the complete multi-modal business solution. Ultimately extended support for Windows 7 is guaranteed by Microsoft until 2020, so its longevity and security shouldn't be a worry. While that gives plenty of time for businesses to evaluate the new features within Windows 8.
Linux remains an alternative to both Windows and Apple Mac OS X, but is generally perceived to have a higher cost of ownership. For a small business this might be the case, as generally it'll require a user with Linux system administrator skills to deploy and maintain, but for any sized business that would be employing someone to do so that's a mute cost point. Importantly what Linux can do is remove lock-in and migration costs to a large degree and offers greater flexibility in choice.
The OS landscape will continue to evolve with new cloud-aware OSs such as Google Chrome and even Android desktops becoming a reality, but currently these are likely unsuited to a business environment due to their single-user orientation and lack of remote administration tools.
Read our guide to Windows v OS X Windows 8 vs Windows 7 vs OS X Lion