Looking back on Sibos this year, one of the most exciting aspects of the show for Microsoft was the phenomenal interest around the recent launch of Windows 8 and its value to banks in the enterprise. The formal launch of Windows 8 on October 26th gave Microsoft the opportunity to show off some of the new OEM devices from Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony. Delegates were able to get their hands on these devices at our 'devices bar' to experience Windows 8 across a variety of hardware options. These ranged from convertible laptops, to ultrabooks, to tablets - all featuring the Windows 8 touch enabled O/S to deliver not only consumer apps, but enterprise grade networking and productivity tools. Of course, the Microsoft team also had the chance to show off the new Surface tablet - with its magnetically attached touch keyboard that doubles as a screen cover - to customers, partners, press, and analysts. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with iPad carrying business executives immediately recognizing the value of tablet devices that run the same O/S and productivity applications (Office, SharePoint) as is available for enterprise desktops; and bears the enterprise grade integration, security and device management that financial services IT departments demand.

There is constant discussion in the industry (rightfully) about the need for mobile apps for today's executive workforce. But when is an app much more than a mobile app for tablets? When it runs on many different form factors to suit the work-style and lifestyle of todays corporate users; and the stringent compliance and purchasing demands of enterprise IT.

 Looking deeper, Windows 8 is built around a 'build once, deploy to many' approach. App developers at our partners and banking customers can build apps that run both on the desktop and laptop as well as the tablet. Executives can access the same apps from home or on the road as they might use in the office on a different form factor. One of the most compelling examples of this was from our partner, SunGard. Being one of our top global partners, SunGard's IntelliMatch solution uses Microsoft SQL Server to power the reconciliation operations of banks and capital markets firms around the world.

At Sibos this year SunGard announced IntelliMatch Operational Control to help business and IT users access reconciliations virtually anytime, anywhere. The new solution leverages several unique features of Windows 8 that helped SunGard improve upon the ability for bank operations managers to address key risk and oversight challenges. This isn't just a tablet version of a traditional banking application - the solution leverages the Live Tiles, charms, and horizontal scrolling to bring a new level of productivity for both operations staff and executives alike.

I encourage you to read the press release from SunGard, but also the article by Tom Groenfeldt on Forbes.com. I'm excited about the future of Windows 8 in the banking industry; and I hope you see some unique opportunities in your organizations.