To say Microsoft has a lot riding on Windows 8 would be an understatement. Everything is riding on the launch of this OS, which will run on everything from tablets and laptops to desktops and all-in-ones--not to mention a whole new breed of hybrid devices that will combine aspects of notebooks and slates. Why is it such a big bet? Because even though the traditional Windows desktop will still be present, the Modern-style, Live Tile interface will define the user experience. 

Receptivity among consumers for this new look and feel will be absolutely paramount, not only because it could make or break the Windows franchise but because it will need to have a halo effect on Windows Phones to sell more of those devices. To weigh in on the merits of Windows 8 and the challenges it faces I put together a video roundtable starring renowned Microsoft watchers Mary Jo Foley and Ed Bott, as well as Laptopmag Online Editorial Director Avram Piltch, who wrote our Windows 8 Review.

Here are the video highlights of our wide-ranging conversation.

Microsoft Surface Rumors: Is $199 Realistic?

It sounds too good to be true--and probably is. A couple of sites have reported that Microsoft's Surface tablet will be priced the same as the Nexus 7. Could it happen? Maybe, if certain services are bundled.

Windows 8: What Microsoft Has Done Right?

Ed Bott argues that Windows 8 is much faster than Windows 7, so Microsoft deserves credit for the performance boost. Syncing with the cloud is also seamless via services like SkyDrive.

Modern Interface Pros & Cons

According to Mary Jo Foley, consumers will gravitate towards Windows 8 but business users are going to be very surprised and lots of training will be required. 

Multitasking: Too Hard or Minor Learning Curve?

Switching between apps in Windows 8 is swift on touchscreen devices, but not so much on the desktop. Avram Piltch sounds off.

Windows 8 vs Windows RT

It's clear that Microsoft is targeting two different audiences with these two flavors of the new windows. Think of RT as the direct challenge to the iPad.

Hybrid Hype: Do Consumers Want Tablet-Laptop Combos?

Microsoft and its partners are placing a big bet on devices that combine touch and keyboard. Will consumers bite?