Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) has secured a three-year, $617 million modernization agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense. The deal is aimed at fostering new levels of cross-agency collaboration between the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Defense Information Systems Agency, covering 75% of all DoD personnel. The products involved include Microsoft Office 2013, SharePoint 2013 Enterprise, and Windows 8. The Air Force alone expects to save $50 million a year as a result of this implementation. While the total contract isn't earth-shattering for Team Redmond, it speaks volumes about the security features of Microsoft's newest products.
Vote of confidence
Microsoft has been working closely with the DoD to secure Army Golden Master and Air Force Standard Desktop Configuration compliance for Windows 8. This is just a technical way of saying that the software meets the precise specifications deemed appropriate for military purposes. The important information to take away from this development is that the DoD has given Microsoft a vote of confidence, which sets a precedent for other enterprises to follow suit. It's now up to Microsoft's sales force to make this happen.
Windows 8 has been designed to better handle computer malware threats compared to previous versions. Windows 8 has antivirus software automatically enabled if no other antivirus client is present. At the core, Windows 8 allocates and monitors memory in such a way that it resists all memory modifications by external processes -- the way viruses are designed today. In other words, any attack or exploit that worked on Windows 7 will no longer be successful on Windows 8. While not 100% secure, Windows 8 is significantly more secure than Windows 7.
For organizations and users where security is top priority, Windows 8 has the potential to make a big splash. Users who become familiar with Windows 8 will be familiar with the Metro interface of Windows Phone 8. This development has to potential to indirectly drive sales in mobile, an area where Microsoft's market share is currently lacking. If all goes to plan, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) , Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) , and even Research in Motion (NASDAQ: BBRY ) could face increased pressure from Microsoft's newfound momentum. In the end, it appears there's more to Windows 8 than a seemingly frustrating interface.