Tablets and smartphones have made it possible for businesses to operate beyond the office life that exists between the hours of 9am and 5pm.

So far, Apple has dominated the mobile market, especially with their iPad tablet. But alternatives to Apple and the ailing Blackberry are beginning to emerge, and they are focusing on creating products that can be used in the workplace. One example is Microsoft and their planned release of Windows 8. The new software will be a “tablet-optimized” version of their operating system that will attempt to bridge the gap between mobile devices and desktops. As long as cloud content management systems are in place, a hybrid model is possible for businesses.

“We’re in a transitionary space right now, where we’re almost giving up the desk to become very mobile,” says Quocirca principal analyst Rob Bamforth. “But it’s still difficult to call whether people will prefer something entirely tablet-like or the legacy keyboard.”

Related Slideshow: Windows 8: tour of Microsoft’s new look

One person who is confident in the powers of Windows 8 to rejuvenate the company is Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. He “thinks the potential of Windows 8 is on par with Windows 95, one of the most important software releases in the past two decades,” and may even surpass it. Since Microsoft is doing a complete overhaul of their products to accommodate the changes Windows 8 will bring, expectations ought to be high for the software.

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