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The Homely Appeal of Microsoft’s Windows 8


Microsoft (MSFT) may be about as fashionable as fanny packs to most investors but Kim Forrest, senior equities analyst at Fort Pitt Capital sees beauty there. To Forrest Microsoft being the mirror image of Apple (AAPL) isn't an insult but a good thing.

Consumers are fickle but IT departments are loath to change. As an ex-software engineer Forrest says she knows what Microsoft's corporate customers want and that's Windows 8. The aggressive lack of enthusiasm from the early reviews mean little to her as an investor. It's all about utility to business and Microsoft has delivered a cross platform killer.

Having installed and used Windows 8 Forrest says you can use the platform with a keyboard, mouse or touchscreen and not sacrifice functionality. The devices using it probably won't be as appealing to workers, but that's not the goal. "[What] Microsoft really needed to do was to make products that were good enough for people to not feel embarrassed to be seen using them," she says.

Windows 8 achieves that rather modest goal, according to Forrest. If she's right it's bullish for shares of MSFT, which have been suppressed by concerns over the erosion of it's monopoly. A secure system that enables IT departments to write single programs that can be put into multiple products without having to be tweaked and redesigned is worth it's weight in gold to corporations and untold billions to Microsoft.

With rapid adoption of Windows 8 after the October 26 release, Microsoft will have the anti-Mac OS. Ugly, clunky and humiliating for consumers, but lovely as a Spring morning for corporations. For Microsoft and its investors that's more than enough.