No doubt about it. Windows 8 has the chance to be a game changer for how we look at computing, converging PCs, tablets and smartphones. In fact, Amit Pandey, the CEO and president of Zenprise, a leader in mobile device management security, had this to say about the changes with Windows 8: “The PC is dead. Personal computing has been moving in this direction as consumers shift their lives to mobile devices. Vendors like Microsoft are acknowledging this.”

Windows 8 is also the operating system installed on Microsoft’s recently released Surface tablet. If Pandey’s point is correct that the lines between PC and mobile platforms are now blurred, and if Microsoft continues to be the platform of choice in the majority of business settings, what kind of impact will Surface have? Will Surface make the same kind of impact the iPad has, especially in the BYOD arena?

The use of Office and other Microsoft products in the business setting would seem to give Surface an edge. Yet Sam Stone, whose company Thundercorp Mobile develops iPhone, iPad, and Android apps, isn’t sure Surface and Windows 8 will have much of an impact, at least not for a while.

“Microsoft is trying to enter a market that is dominated by Apple,” said Stone. “They are also priced higher than leading android tablets, so they are really trapped somewhere in the middle. A consumer will have a hard time justifying not going for the cheaper Android tablet that has been in the market for a while or paying a bit more for the leading tablet, the iPad. This fact has not escaped developers who are still very reluctant to devote resources to building apps for this platform.”

Another reason Stone doesn’t believe Surface will have the same impact as the iPad is an anticipated slow migration to Windows 8. “After windows Vista, most businesses are perfectly happy with windows 7, and some even stayed on Windows XP just to be safe. Thus, the advantages of having a similar UI to Surface has very little appeal,” he said.

There is also an interesting role reversal at work. For years, Microsoft products targeted the business customer while Apple appealed primarily to the consumer market, with its business entries mostly within industries that needed top-notch design or other creative-based applications. Now, said Stone, Surface is being positioned as a consumer device for fun and games. “Businesses won’t see this as an advantage, and the iPad is growing very strongly in the business area as a business application tablet.”

But then, the iPad began as a product for fun and games. Surface, said Russ Whitman, chief strategy officer at Ratio Interactive, a digital applications company, brings some definite strengths to the tablet table.

“The touch experience, battery life and overall feel of the device meet the standards set by iPad. There are some nice enhancements — like the keyboard cover, a really nice experience. In fact one of the best things — and a key differentiator — is that Windows 8 and its apps are optimized for both a touch and a keyboard experience,” Whitman said.

Whitman disagrees with Stone’s assessment of Surface finding a role in the business environment. “As a Windows device, Surface will be a more normalized device option in BYOD scenarios as it support Windows Live ID and can be more easily sandboxed in environments when compared with other tablets,” he said.

The key to Surface becoming a viable choice for those who enjoy the iPad will be in how well it performs and the quality of applications that are developed for it along with the integration with business applications. Business app integration alone will probably not be enough.