Windows 8: A radical change for Windows, and a huge gamble for Microsoft

The new 'Windows 8' start screen (Credit: Microsoft)

Early versions of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, developed a decade ago, had the feel of the Windows PC desktop. The theory was that people would be more comfortable and familiar with it. The upcoming version of Windows for PCs — known for now by the code name Windows 8 — will feel more like a mobile phone or a tablet. Same theory.

The world has gone mobile, and online. And good old-fashioned Windows, that bastion of traditional desktop computing, will undergo a radical remodel in an attempt to keep up with the likes of Apple and Google … and everybody else.

In the process, Microsoft will be taking an enormous gamble, overhauling the centerpiece of its business — a product responsible for more than $18 billion in annual revenue, and familiar to hundreds of millions of people. If the strategy works, it could keep Windows relevant for years to come. If it doesn’t, it could accelerate the company’s decline.

It’s the biggest change since Windows 95, said Microsoft executive Julie Larson-Green yesterday at the D9 conference in California, where she and Windows chief Steven Sinofsky debuted the new approach.

“An average person walking into Best Buy and going to look at a Windows laptop is going to be shocked when they look at that,” said Walt Mossberg, the conference co-host and influential Wall Street Journal columnist. He called it “jolting.”

“It’s definitely different,” acknowledged Larson-Green. “It really takes into account all the changes that have happened in the industry, and all the technologies. While we just showed the user interface here, every subsystem of Windows has been reimagined to be modern.”

And that was the big shocker from the Windows 8 unveiling. Microsoft wasn’t just showing a new Windows for tablets, as many had expected. Microsoft was showing a new Windows … period.

“It’s going to run on laptops, it’s going to run on desktops, it’s going to run on PCs with mouse and keyboard,” says Microsoft’s Jensen Harris after demonstrating the Windows 8 interface in the company video below. “It’s going to run on everything.”

Also significant is Microsoft’s focus on web-oriented HTML5 and JavaScript applications in the new Windows development platform. We’ll hear much more about this at Microsoft’s “Build” developer conference in September.

Users will still be able to run traditional Windows software, and opt for the traditional Windows desktop, but the standard experience will be the new interface shown by the company this week.

The scale of the change underscores just how much Windows needs to adapt to the new world. Particularly interesting during the D9 demo was the brief glimpse of the “share” icon built into a default Windows 8 command menu. This is Windows for the web, more than any previous version of the operating system.

At the outset of the D9 session yesterday, conference co-host and Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg asked Windows chief Sinofsky how he felt about Microsoft being left out of Google chairman Eric Schmidt’s “Gang of Four” list of top consumer platforms: Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook.

“The thing that struck me the most was, it’s an interesting group of companies, lots of creative work,” said Sinofsky. “But the one thing thing that gets left out of that discussion is that the way 90 or 95 percent of the world gets on the Internet in the first place is through Windows.”

Microsoft isn’t saying when the new Windows will come out, but it’s widely expected in 2012.

Related: Platform or not, Microsoft’s Xbox business is booming

  • Jonah

    By “accelerate the Company’s decline are you referring to the consistent growth in revenues?”

  • Mytmouse

    I’m with Jonah on this one. Microsoft posted record earnings last year as Windows 7 was an unparalleled success.

    • Timebandit001

      Of course, everybody with Vista was running to the store to upgrade it.

      Face it : Microsoft is loosing on every front, except the desktop, for now.
      Nobody wants a Windows phone. Even the phone makers are running away.
      I am sure they gave a really good reason to Nokia (hint : $$$) to make the move they did, and this will kill them (Nokia)

      • LU

        Io non sono d’accordo con te. Il mio telefono Windows phone 7 è 
        fantastico. Il OS mobile di Microsoft ha soddisfatto le mie aspettative. 
        Ipad invece mi ha molto deluso. In particolare per la gestione dei miei dati e files (troppi vincoli e limiti). Ad esempio non c’è un sistema integrato per vedere ed editare fogli di calcolo e  testi diversi da pdf ?!  Apple progetta sistemi per utenti incapaci, il loro paradgma è “clicca sul pulsantone centrale torna all’inzio e ricomincia”. Non voglio far parte della categoria “Apple per dummies”

        Luigi

        • bystanding translator

          Translation: I don’t agree with you. My Windows phone 7 is fantastic. The mobile OS of Microsoft has satisfied my expectations. iPad, on the other hand, left me very disappointed. In particular the management of my data and files (too many links and limits). As an example there is not an integrated system to see and edit spreadsheets and various pdf scripts?! Apple designs systems for incapable customers; their paradigm is “click on the button to return to the beginning and start over”. I do not want to be part of the “Apple for dummies” category.

      • Anonymous

        Nobody wants a windows 7 phone?
        I just bought one.  And it’s the best phone I’ve ever used.  I went from an iPhone3 to a Droid X to a W7.
        The problem with the W7 phones was caused by manufacturers playing with the underlying OS and when MS did the first update, the phones got bricked.  Not an MS issue but a phone manufacturer issue.

        Yes Vista had problems.  They learned and W7 is by far the best OF MS has built. (Runs great on my MacBook Pro!)

        • Htwoo

          How can this not be an MS issue? Clearly the process is broken, when this can happen.

          • Capt_Ron

            Lets say you buy a Corvette and modify the engine.  Then the engine breaks when the dealership updates the ECU (Engine Control Unit).  Who’s fault is it?  I do agree that MS should have put safeguards in place to prevent tampering of areas that could effect future updates, but there’s only so much that they can control.  Same goes for Android.  Manufacturers modify their Android OS too.  My wife’s droid uses Bing as the search engine. (Thought that was funny)

        • Grafik Soup

          well actually, you’re wrong about Win7. It is not their best – in fact it’s just a fancier Vista. There are far too many issues that were carried over from Vista which tells us that they didn’t address those issues at all. They did beef up  security, I’ll give them that….but they should’ve done that 7 years ago. Mostly it’s about the visual with Win7 but certainly not about performance. If you’re not a computer geek you will love it because it’s pretty. But the people who look for performance without bugs, crashes, etc….strongly dislike Win7. Bottom line they broke the mold with XP and sadly they will never get back to that kind of purity again.

          • Guest

            “But the people who look for performance without bugs, crashes, etc….strongly dislike Win7″

            I’m a software engineer who also codes as a hobby.

            Windows 7 wins as msft best OS by far.  It’s not even a competition.

            Performance problems?  What are you running on? A pc that came with windows 98?

      • DivideByZero

        Are you serious? Have you used Android and/or developed for it? The Windows Phone will become an Android killer. iPhone will be extremely difficult to dethrone, but Windows Phone will knock Android out of their rankings.

        • Terryomsn

          The problem with your statement is that MSFT has an open hardware model.  Unlike Apple, you cannot control what your “partners” are doing.  While Apple can control API and quality, you cannot.  It will always be your downfall.  Its a fundamental Gates philosopohy flaw.  You should never have farmed out hardware.

          • http://profiles.google.com/dariopy Dario Alvarez

            That’s exactly the same model Android has. And they’re #1 now. I don’t see where the flaw is, except in your reasoning.

          • future user

            actually they dont have an open hardware model – not like Android anyway. All WP7 hardware makers MUST adhere to some key design points that make WP7 much easier to manage for updates, apps, etc. Ask any Android phone app developer how much fun it is testing their apps on the hundreds of different phones to make sure it works and then ask them how much easier that is on WP7. This was clearly a leaf out of Apple’s book on the iPhone but as MSFT cant control the hardware completely they did the next best thing. This shows they’re in it for the long haul with a platform that will win over developers and users and hardware vendorss lowly but surely.
            PD: I love my WP7, hate my iPad and gave my iPhone away.

        • http://profiles.google.com/tugando Tony Ugando

          I don’t think Android can be “killed”.  It has already spread like wildfire and has become the dominating mobile OS.  In addition to this, phone makers are betting the farm on it.  MS missed the boat.  Not even if they were to give W8 OS away, as Google does with Android, will MS be able to etch away at Android’s world domination.  Windows will maintain it’s dominance in the workplace, but Android will become the dominating everyday consumer OS.

          • future user

            you could have said the same of Nokia/Symbian just a few short years ago….and people thought BB would do the same. This market is never stagnant and rarely predicatable over the long term. Android has one the battle but the war is still there for the winning

      • Cfurytheazzhat

        Still trolling huh?

      • Bob Beechey

        “Everybody was running to the store to upgrade it” and so were many people who were ready to move from XP and many first time users.
        “Microsoft is loosing on every front” – why is this grammatical howler becoming so common? You mean “losing”.
        If I “loose” my belt, my trousers will fall down.
        If I “lose” my belt, the damn thing has gone missing.
        “Nobody wants a Windows phone” – yes, except for those who do!

    • Anonymous

      Take a look at the Q1 PC shipment numbers, Microsoft’s Windows revenue for the corresponding quarter (down 4%), and the impact of the iPad on sales of low-end Windows PCs. 

      http://www.geekwire.com/2011/revenge-ipad-traditional-pc-market-tanks-q1

      But more than those numbers, I was referring to the bigger picture. As I mention at the outset of the post, the approach to Windows 8 reflects the fact that the technology world has gone mobile. Microsoft’s primary entrant in the mobile world, Windows Phone, is struggling to gain traction. In a market that matters perhaps the most for the future, Microsoft has been in decline. 

      http://www.geekwire.com/2011/data-windows-phone-trails-pack-q1

      If Windows 8 succeeds in its attempt to adapt to changing user habits, it could be a big win for Microsoft. If not, it’s a problem.

      • Gary Voth

        “Windows Phone is struggling to gain traction.” 

        True enough, but I suspect not due to the quality of the product itself. Windows Phone is already an exceptionally consumer-friendly product, vastly improved over previous Microsoft mobile offerings, with what looks to be a promising roadmap.  It already bests Android in overall user satisfaction according to a recent PC Magazine reader survey, and the Samsung Focus is rated ahead of the iPhone 4 among the magazine’s readership:

        http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2385636,00.asp

        Microsoft is stuggling in mobile because of a brand-image problem, but given continued good execution and time, I think that consumers, carriers and hardware partners will recognize the potential of the platfrom. 

        Since Windows 8 and Windows Phone will share a common design language and (no doubt) common connected experiences, millions more people will become familiar with it, and if Windows 8 is a sales success on touch-centric devices it should drive sales of the phone in the same way that the success of iOS devices is driving sales of Macs.

        As you point out, there is a lot of risk in scaling Windows down to mobile devices: will it be as elegant and cost effective as the “pure mobile” competition?  Will consumers accept the new ‘Metro” UI paradigm, which is so different than iOS and Android?  I don’t know yet, but I think the company has to “go big or go home”, and this feels like a “go big” move to me.

      • Gary Voth

        “Windows Phone is struggling to gain traction.” 

        True enough, but I suspect not due to the quality of the product itself. Windows Phone is already an exceptionally consumer-friendly product, vastly improved over previous Microsoft mobile offerings, with what looks to be a promising roadmap.  It already bests Android in overall user satisfaction according to a recent PC Magazine reader survey, and the Samsung Focus is rated ahead of the iPhone 4 among the magazine’s readership:

        http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2385636,00.asp

        Microsoft is stuggling in mobile because of a brand-image problem, but given continued good execution and time, I think that consumers, carriers and hardware partners will recognize the potential of the platfrom. 

        Since Windows 8 and Windows Phone will share a common design language and (no doubt) common connected experiences, millions more people will become familiar with it, and if Windows 8 is a sales success on touch-centric devices it should drive sales of the phone in the same way that the success of iOS devices is driving sales of Macs.

        As you point out, there is a lot of risk in scaling Windows down to mobile devices: will it be as elegant and cost effective as the “pure mobile” competition?  Will consumers accept the new ‘Metro” UI paradigm, which is so different than iOS and Android?  I don’t know yet, but I think the company has to “go big or go home”, and this feels like a “go big” move to me.

        • Terryomsn

          350,000 iPhone apps.  MSFT is not even listed in the top 5 mobile phone vendors.  Its an “other”.  Too late to the party, no innovation, total copy job.  I do love the debut video of the PM director for UX design taking bows for Apple’s UI.  Classic, totally classic

        • future user

          its a lot more than brand-image problems. Its a severe distribution issue where the channels are hardly trained on the devices and the benefits of WP7, its major supply issues around the world, its poor execution of the values of WP7 outside of the US. All of these can be overcome but MSFT needs to work out how to finish the job. They used to create a great product and the customers would beat a path to the shop to buy it, now MSFT has to drag the customers in and they dont do that type of marketing well. Google and Apple do it brilliantly.

    • Grafik Soup

      So I’m guessing record earnings is all the proof you need? that’s one of the biggest problems in this country people think something is great because it sells a lot. Cooler heads prevail who wait for all the little sheep to buy and run it first

  • Mytmouse

    I’m with Jonah on this one. Microsoft posted record earnings last year as Windows 7 was an unparalleled success.

  • Craig

    Looks nice… but I have a big issue with the idea that this is more of an overlay of small widgets then an actual OS upgrade. If this is really going to succeed they need to update the entire system (not keep the legacy file system and windows 7 task bar when you open ‘non-windows8′ applications). As well this would work great on anything but the general PC, it has shown that touch movements don’t port to keyboard + mouse very well, so hopefully we will see how it will work on those soon.

  • Craig

    Looks nice… but I have a big issue with the idea that this is more of an overlay of small widgets then an actual OS upgrade. If this is really going to succeed they need to update the entire system (not keep the legacy file system and windows 7 task bar when you open ‘non-windows8′ applications). As well this would work great on anything but the general PC, it has shown that touch movements don’t port to keyboard + mouse very well, so hopefully we will see how it will work on those soon.

    • Parrotlover77

      I love how so many people think that adding a new feature requires that removal of all legacy support.  The reason Windows has been the industry standard desktop operating system for 20 years is that it has legacy support and only deprecates features after 8 or so years of inactivity.  Also, legacy file system?  You mean NTFS?  NTFS is an excellent file system.  What on earth do you propose we replace it with?  And moreover, WHY on earth would it be replaced when it gets the job done nicely?  Just because?

      • Rob

        ZFS and the development versions of Btrfs allow for block level deduplication.  Ext3 and ext4 does not require to ‘defrag’ your computer due to a better file allocation algorithm.  

        Frankly, NTFS is an old technology and there are huge developments in filesystems elsewhere.

        • John Nicholas

          moreover windows file systems only off a single heirachical way to view data. Now a file system shuold have a physical heirachical storage for efficiency reasons, but files should have a tagging system to allow multiple views of the same data tailored to use case.

      • Anonymous

        Parrotlover,

        >> WHY on earth would it be replaced when it gets the job done nicely? <<

        Yeah, that's my question. Most people discussing this don't really understand the issue anyway.  If there was a good technical reason for replacing NTFS then it should be replaced – but the thing works.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

        As for the "Metro" front-end.  Yuck.  If nothing else changes about Windows  besides the addition of that thing I'll be running "7" for a long, long time.

        -CB

      • Grafik Soup

        Actually, the reason Windows has been the  industry standard desktop OS for 20 years is because first they monopolized it. When Microsoft was forced out of that they began donating PC’s to other countries pre-installed with….of course Windows OS – thus furthering the monopoly in yet another underhanded way.

  • Guest

    Do not want.

  • Guest

    Do not want.

  • Wake5

    This is great strategy for Microsoft. They have a division that is wildly successful and profitable(Windows for PC’s) and a business that has lagged the competition since the beginning and probably never made a profit (Windows phones). So their strategy is to use the Windows phone interface for Windows PC’s??? WOW this will turn out good, LOL.

  • Parrotlover77

    That’s great for tablets, but completely unusable for mouse+keyboard desktops.  The last thing I want to do is gestures over ungodly huge widgets with my mouse.  It’s unnatural, cumbersome, and unproductive.  I wish MS would stop listening to the Apple fanbois and keep doing what they were doing until this UI overhaul.  Windows 7 is AWESOME.  I know I  can go back to Windows 7 UI in Windows 8, but I fear that this just a stepping stone backwards towards single-tasking computing, which would just be a disaster for productivity.  I know Apple fanbois can only do one unproductive graphical thing at a time, but I need to get work done and typically have 10-20 apps open at a time.  This widget + gesture UI would be a nightmare for me.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t understand why people “skip” over the fact that the current style interface will still be there.  You have a CHOICE.  I’d expect that the Professional or Enterprise versions will start with the typical interface and have the Metro UI an option.

    • Guest

      Hey Einstein, you use the desktop UI when on a desktop.
      If you have a multi touch monitor, you have the OPTION to switch to a touch friendly UI when necessary (for example, during a presentation in a meeting).  When you use it on a mobile device, you use the metro UI.

      Also, when you have a mobile touch device, you could get a stand for it, plug in a keyboard and mouse, switch to desktop UI and BOOM, you have a mini pc.

      Or, as I’m sure you are aware of, you can grab a form factor like the Samsung Sliding 7 PC where can use the Metro UI in “tablet mode” and the desktop UI when in “laptop mode”.

      If that ain’t an EPIC win, I don’t know what is.

      I’m a software engineer.  The reason I (and most of my collegues) don’t have a touch-tablet is PRECISELY because I can’t use it in THAT way.

      What’s there not to like about “code once, run anywhere” if you are a software engineer????
      Better yet, what’s there not to like about “BUY ONCE, run anywhere” if you are a consumer????

      I realise that bashing microsoft is the latest trend, but people should start to realise that Microsoft is lining up all there products in a single pool.  When Windows 8 hits the market, it’ll be like a giant bulldozer ripping the markets google and apple created completely apart.

      There is NO system as fully integrated as win8 will be.  There is NO ecosystem like win8 will offer.  This is going to own big time.  It’s gonna be windows 95 all over again.

      Mind my words.

      • Phil_klassen

        its still ugly, cumbersome, and useless.  I hate the touch screen generation.   I’d go back to XP if i could.

        • Guest

          Well, you can’t.

          But I still have a mechanical type writer in my house somewhere if you want it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jameswm1 James Wallis Martin

    The challenge as I see it is for Microsoft to break away from its image as “the standard” and become the “leader in innovation and change”.  People who buy Microsoft, don’t purchase it for it to change (look at how many hate the Office Ribbon – I personally love it and like the change to a process menu rather than the traditional “File – Edit – View” menu), but hearing from most of the people I knew, they hated the change, they hated the changes in Vista and Windows 7 and wish they could just remain on tried, trusted, and familiar Windows XP. 

    • Guest

      I think you overlook a simple fact.  People hate change, period.
      People don’t hate the ribbon.  They hate that the need to learn a new form factor for a tool they have been using for a long time.

      Multi-touchablets are brand new.  It “changed” nothing.  It’s brand new.  So people don’t complain.

      Also realise that 90% of users out there are using windows.  It’s only logical that a LOT of people will complain when what they have been used to for so long changes.

      Do you remember 2001 when XP came out?  Everybody was yapping about how great 98 was.  Today, they are all yapping about how great XP was.  And now that 8 has been put in the spotlight, everybody’s yapping about how great 7 is.

      People will whine when you change what they are used to.  That’s just a fact of life.  It doesn’t matter if the new way is better, more efficient, has better performance, is more secure, boots faster, is more smooth, is flashier,….

      The fact is that people will be pissed about the need to study a new way of working, a new interface,…

      It’s only after a year or 2 that these opinions change.  Then they realise how GREAT that new thing really is.
      It was the case with win XP, office XP, the ribbon, windows 7, wp7,… and it MOST CERTAINLY will be the case with windows 8.

      When 8 hits the market, it’s going to be the most advanced hybrid system out there. 

      This is EXACTLY what I and all my collegues wanted.  A touch friendly system that can be switched to a classical desktop UI by the push of a button, that can handle ANY windows app, that can handle ANY wp7 app.

      Code once, run everywhere = boner.

      • Grafik Soup

        I remember vividly when XP came out. I was enrolled and working pt at a community college that had installed XP in 70% of the pc’s during the Summer. There was not one single complaint about it - in fact, all the students raved about XP. The reason for this was because XP made sense. Win98 was good - Win2000 was a mess. 
         
         I belong to 8-9 different tech sites and every one of my tech friends raved about XP -  still do - again because it made sense. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they didn’t like XP. its not as if Win98 was bad - it wasn’t but still no one complained that Windows98 should’ve been left  alone. I think you dreamed that everyone whined and complained when XP came out. Yes its true people have a tendency to not like change but if the change is truly good and helpful to many you will see them warm up very quickly. with XP – it was immediate – it was considered a thousand times better than Win2000. (but you left that important info out in your post)
         
        Then Vista came out. I never had to use it on a regular basis so I can’t comment on it but I can say without a doubt that Win7 is mostly hype and like someone already pointed out here the only reason it has sold so well is because of the contracts Microsoft made with Dell, HP, Toshiba, Sony, etc to have it pre-installed in every laptop and Desktop. It’s not as if you get a choice either because when 7 was released Microsoft ran their big campaign of discouraging XP usage warning constantly there would be no more support for XP as of 2013 (or thereabouts) as if it would be tomorrow. And actually, it turned out to be just that. HP, Dell, Toshiba, and Best Buy were not even allowed to give you any support if you had taken Win7 out and  installed XP. They were told to discourage everyone from doing that and refuse any kind of support. Now, why does Microsoft still operate in that old “monopoly” way? Because their only concern is controlling what they want – which is to produce & sell quantity - without quality. And still, many issues that go back as far as XP/Vista, were never addressed in Win7 – so those problems still exist. i.e. certificate issues, kernal dump, iSNS function, .NET function, early time-outs and the list goes on.

        I wouldn’t mind if Win7 was worth it but it isn’t. Not even close to the performance and sensibility of XP. Everyday users (except the 30-40,000 that got stuck with laptops that were configured incorrectly by the hardware companies because MS didn’t bother to explain proper config) who use their pc’s for mostly entertainment love Win7 because it’s pretty. It doesn ‘t have the performance that XP had and it’s convoluted with a lot of extra unecessary steps to perform standard configurations of it’s software. Plus it runs slower – you actually need more RAM to perform the same tasks that needed far less in older pc’s with XP installed. 

        So please spare me the arrogant & childish comments that it’s “trendy” or “politically correct” to bad mouth Microsoft. They got here all on their own greed because instead of fixing what’s broken they choose to shove it under the carpet and pop out another OS. There is NOTHING trendy about thousands of people’s ire over a product that doesn’t work right when it used to before they decided to change it for the worse. Don’t believe me? Go take a look at the Win7 forums at Microsoft (not to mention the hundreds of other forums with discussions on the Win7 problems) and see for yourself – there are over 100,000 threads - a lot are issues with bad configurations but too many are problems resulting from Microsoft not fixing prior issues within their software. I choose to believe real people who discuss real experiences, not some fanboys here who feel the need to tell us they’re “Engineers”. So what? You think that makes you more credible?  It doesn’t. It only makes you someone who thinks your job title should impress others. Anyone who has a brain and the experience knows just as much if not more, about operating systems as you - the difference is they don’t feel the need to declare their profession’s as some sort of elite badge of knowledge.

        I almost can’t wait for Win8 to release and see how many of you sheep who think its the cats meow right now, can’t toggle between the desktop/mobile UI’s, and the virtual keyboard is missing or when you get the all too common crash after freeze because of some bug that MS didn’t fix prior to it’s release. Talk to us then after you eat a little humble pie.

        • Guest

          “There was not one single complaint about it – in fact, all the students raved about XP. ”

          Students are not your average user.
          I was in college at that time as well.  All of us were running the beta with great enthousiasm.

          Average users… the non-techs, the ones calling customer support when a website is down, were all hating it. 

          I can still hear my dad whine about things he gotten used to in 98, but were overhauled in XP.

  • Dont do this

    This will be bigger  failure than Vista…

  • Anonymous

    Here is the brilliant side to all of this. Which most people forget, is your OS transitions for the device, without having different versions. You pick up your tablet run it with the widgets touch interface. Shackled to your desk at work, flip back to standard windows 7 mode. It’s really just a 5 second toggle in the display. Like going from standard to aero in windows 7. Your phone will run the same OS as well, which once again picks up a key note to developers. Develop your code once have it run on desktop, tablet, phone. Build that XNA game have it work on desktop, tablet, phone, no rewrites. A key part of the new OS that is lacking in this video though is the ability to transport your OS via USB stick between devices. The idea is you will have your OS sitting on your desktop hit go home (my term) it duplicates the OS including certain programs like office, and other 3rd party programs / applications, to your usb stick where you put into your tablet and pick up right where you left off. Add on some oh I don’t know cloud storage for files, and your set. I know how can that be? Well windows 7 has a super small data foot print itself. Even with Maya, photoshop, Windows 7 Pro, and unreal developer kit, office 2010, etc installed my OS foot print is 8 gig which fits easily on my 16 gig usb stick. So I can pick up and move to any device I want to with my usb stick and have my OS and all the software I have.

    But to circle back, the key idea is 1 OS, not a phone OS, tablet OS, desktop OS. That is where Apple and Google are having success with pulling in 3rd party developers. This is a must move and its not a Apple or Google copy move, as MS has been making the transition for about a decade now, but as everyone points out if the mass populus has their way XP is the only OS microsoft should make. So the change has to be made slowly, and windows 7 sells so well cause its a great OS plain and simple.

    • Timebandit001

      Sure, everyone will ditch their iPhone/Android and their Macbook and go buy a WP7 phone and a windows laptop.

      You sure sound like an MS fanboy.

      I prefer to have everything in the cloud and access it from any device, be it my tablet/iPad, my phone, my laptop, a computer in an internet café or my big-screen TV.

      That way, I don’t have to worry about what OS the device runs, it just needs an internet access and a browser. And I don’t even need to bring a device with me, I can use whatever there is where I’m going.

      and windows 7 sell so well because… you can’t buy a computer without it, unless you buy a Mac. Period.

      • Anonymous

        So your arguement just proves / validates what microsoft is doing.
        You say:
        I prefer to have everything in the cloud and access it from any device,
        be it my tablet/iPad, my phone, my laptop, a computer in an internet
        café or my big-screen TV.

        That way, I don’t have to worry about
        what OS the device runs, it just needs an internet access and a browser.
        And I don’t even need to bring a device with me, I can use whatever
        there is where I’m going.

        So.
        Microsoft makes an OS designed just for that, accessing all of your items, documents, etc from any computer, tablet, PC, laptop, TV. And you complain about it? But MS is taking it a step farther by allowing you to take those cloud documents and working with them in a normal desktop environment when you need to or accessing them via a tablet UI when your traveling. As many people point out the tablet doesn’t work on the desktop platform, and the desktop platform doesn’t work on a tablet. To solve this MS has the OS easily shift between the two depending on what you are trying to do.

        Now for marketing, take a few billion desktop users and tell them their stuff is all accessible via their mobile devices if they use Windows phones, hmmm guess what. They will get windows phones. Sorry but Google Apps and such just don’t cut it for corporate America and with today’s announcement Google will drop browser support all the time now, leaves a bitter taste in corporations, they don’t like being told they have to update to keep using a product.

      • Atticus

        I don’t like the everything in the cloud model, because that means everything is hostage.

        I refuse to pay an additional hundred’s of dollars/year to access things through a smartphone when the company is already hijacking me for nearly a grand a year for a families worth of phone services.

        Once the cloud has subsumed all our data, it will be ransomed. Look at the coming iCloud. Apple will be able to ransom your music and censor your information and protect you from tasteless apps. 

        “Baa-aa-aa” say the sheep…

        • Guest

          Save the PC
          No to CLOUD

      • Guest

        1. I haven’t bought a pc with windows pre-installed for about 12 years now (and in that time, I’ve probably bought about 6-7 pc’s – not because I need them, but because I can :D )

        2. I don’t like the idea of not being able to access my apps/documents when no internet connection is available

        3. As an engineer, I don’t like the idea of having to code 2-3 different version of the SAME app, just to be able to use it on range of devices.

        4. As a consumer, I don’t like the idea of having to buy an app MORE THEN ONCE, just to be able to use it on range of devices.

        5. unlike the iPad, windows 8 tablets WILL replace laptops… because they WILL be laptops if you plug in a keyboard / mouse and mount the tablet on a stand (or if you ‘transform’ it into one like you can do with samsung slider)

        In conclusion, I have NO IDEA AT ALL why people think having one OS for ALL your devices is a bad idea.  Apparantly you people like the idea of buying several versions of the same app and having to maintain several versions of the same app.

        Windows 8 will do what the iOS and Android was unable to do: provide enterprise with a hybrid mobile platform they can actually use to consume AS WELL AS CREATE.

        • Grafik Soup

          I don’t think this is the reason people are saying no to it. I believe its because Microsoft is now poping  out new OS’s every 2 years and each time they do that the new system’s have too many bugs. These bugs are issues caused by the fact that instead fixing them Microsoft chooses to ignore them and move on to a “more modern” OS. Not enough time passes for them to be properly tested and as a result it causes more time and harm than good. Microsoft panders too much to “being the first” rather than being dependable. Thus – the intense mistrust.

      • Guest

        Boy isn’t that the big fat truth about why Win7 sells so well! I’m so glad you brought that up. Maybe now, some of the yahoo’s who think its so fantastic will finally get that  it’s all just hype – not truth.

      • Guest

        Boy isn’t that the big fat truth about why Win7 sells so well! I’m so glad you brought that up. Maybe now, some of the yahoo’s who think its so fantastic will finally get that  it’s all just hype – not truth.

    • Grafik Soup

      mtcoder you MUST work for MS. You’ve got about 6 different posts here all pushing for  Win8 and it hasn’t even been released. You do into details about how it works and how great its going to appeal to the masses. Every one of your posts is over 3 paragraphs long. hmm wonder how you get paid to hype. 

  • Jim

    Let’s face facts, we live in a time when it’s politically correct to minimize Microsoft and its achievements.  This is true of other tech companies (to some degree expected) but it’s also true of a large portion of the media.

    • IQ131

      Don’t be ridiculous. People could care less if its PC or not. PC conversations have nothing to do with the IRE one gets when you’re forced to use an OS because it’s so damn global - leaving you with one choice in order to stay alive in your field. You don’t get that kind of mistrust towards a company simply because some think it’s PC. If the company has let hundreds of thousands down then its their own fault for mistrust – not some silly term which has nothing to do with function.

  • Jim

    Let’s face facts, we live in a time when it’s politically correct to minimize Microsoft and its achievements.  This is true of other tech companies (to some degree expected) but it’s also true of a large portion of the media.

  • Jim

    Let’s face facts, we live in a time when it’s politically correct to minimize Microsoft and its achievements.  This is true of other tech companies (to some degree expected) but it’s also true of a large portion of the media.

  • Dah_Big_Dog

    I may be wrong, but I think people still a lot of real work on laptop, netbook and desktop computers.  By work, I mean, you know, the kind of thing that businesses actually pay you money for doing.  So with Windows 8, I can now reach up and flip my finger across the screen , hoping I flipped on the right tile.  Or, if I’m looking for an application, I hope I didn’t flip the screen too hard and it flies right by.  WOW! That sure is a heck of a lot easier than pointing at a menu and clicking directly on what I want.  Golleeee! Those guys at Microsoft sure are smart.

    • Pauldawson3

      Best thing I’ve read all day

    • Anonymous

      Everyone is missing the whole point / concept. WHEN YOU USE YOUR TABLET  YOU WILL USE THE METRO STYLE TABLET UI. WHEN YOU GO TO DO WORK LIKE IN EXCEL THE OS AUTOMATICALLY WITH NO INTERVENTION FROM YOU DROPS THE TABLET UI AND GIVES YOU WINDOWS 7.  What more could you want from your OS. If your on your tablet then you have the tablet UI when you need to get work done you have your windows 7 UI. Best of both worlds and you don’t have to do a thing to get it. Keeping in mind one feature not listed with this video is the ability to use a usb stick to move your OS from different devices including all your installed applications. Oh and for fun, I have 3 monitors, 2 normal and 1 touch, which is a tablet sized screen it sits on my desktop and I use it for drawning, design, and testing touch screen apps I make. Guess what this might become more the norm. A bit screen infront of you, a touch screen that replaces the keyboard, to control the UI. Why not, have a touch screen the size of a keyboard? Hmm the ways to improve your OS experience is greatly improved. With a few pieces of fairly cheap hardware.

      Also for all the I don’t want to touch my screen all the time. Um well guess what MS does have this cute program they call kinetic which will be a part of windows 8. so you have a simple cheap 40ish kinetic cam on top of your monitor and you can flip, swipe, move around with ease. Now take a directional camera of kinetic and have it aim down to the keyboard. lift your left hand and flip it to the left to switch tabs with never leaving the keyboard.

      MS has been putting bits and pieces of this new OS together for years, it’s just finally coming together. Take windows 8 add some kinetics, make it universal OS (developers love that), make it auto toggle the UI to reflect what you are doing, and you have a sweet spot of an OS.

      Also Apple is already starting to copy MS’s metro with iOS5, So.. now what fanboys. your OS going to look like windows 7 phone now. So really MS outdesigned iOS. Key is if they can take the success put it into the desktop and get it moving. All the pieces are there and if they keep up the work and it releases in next year. MS will enjoy yet another year of record profits.

  • Jose Marino

    Are they hoping that all PCs are going to be “touch”.  Maybe in the future but what about the old PCs?  A lot of folks are going to “use classic” view.  Windows 7 was already a great challenge for older people.  I saw the video and it looks a PC for playing rather than working.

    It shows that Bill Gates is not at Microsoft anymore.  Great products are being trashed by MS executives:  Silverlight, and even .NET itself.  Windows Phone has also big challenges in front of its existence.

    Good luck MS.

    • Guest

      I’m a software engineer.  WPF, Silverlight, WCF are my daily food.  I am .NET certified.

      Silverlight and .NET is broken?  When did this happen?  In your dreams perhaps?

      Why is it so hard for people to understand that there are two (2, TWO) different UI’s here?  WHy is it so hard for people to understand that you use the CLASSICAL WINDOWS UI when working on a DESKTOP WITH MOUSE AND KEYBOARD and will be using the METRO UI when on a TABLET.

      Durrrrrrrr

      • Phil_klassen

        To me, it doesn’t matter that there are two.   I don’t like one of them and its going to take up hard drive space and probably run in the background like all other MS Bullshit programs.   if they take out native IE, I’ll give it a shot during beta testing, but other than that, no chance.

  • Martin A Bradford

    Hmmm, Apple quality control is terrible – just make it white and everything else will follow! And am I alone in worrying about computing being dominated by a company that seeks to monopolise knowledge? Please, Microsoft, do what ever is necessary to stay on top, even if that is to pander to airheads with an attention span measured in seconds and the inability to type – just make sure that we can switch all the flash and trash off and get back to good old-fashioned Windows!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636841046 Joe Can

    Looks great!

  • Itignition

    No-one wants all this animation crap interface that makes each process .4 sec slower for fades and effects.  Its all BS.  And why stupify computer usage.  People are playing games, modifying .ini and config files.  we dont all use corporate services as Microsoft thinkgs.  Some of use like to be closer to the metal.

    I find it funny that IIS teams and ASP.NET have the right idea of getting closer to the metal and offering granularity, and the OS and mobile divisions are progressively stupifying computing.

    oh…If I was king of microsoft for a day…..

  • Dholbon

    By a large margin it’s Windows XP that still has a 40% share of the market followed by Windows 7 with 27% then Vista with 14%… everything else is way under 10%.
     
    Microsoft is now at a crossroad.
     
     It must decide if fiddling with the user interface (again) in an attempt to pander to the “gesture” fanboys – or to go another way, for instance working on the speech recognition software which if perfected would eliminate the mouse and keyboard and make touchscreens obsolete overnight. This is what they’re good at when they try.
     
    I think they’re listening to their own marketing people and have forgotten the average user (who would like things to be easier, not harder and more expensive) completely.
     
    It’s all so 1980’s… time to start getting rid of mice, keyboards, touchscreens and gestures and start moving forward, not backwards.

  • DavidMSwan

    Wow!  SO many of the previous posts entirely miss the
    point — IMHO!  I’m not an MS, Apple, or Google fan-boy.  I am a
    software engineer with 25+ years of experience.  While I love the fact
    that Apple + Google + Linux (and to some degree – Facebook) are pushing computing
    technologies to the-next-level, I do not dismiss MS as a has-been. Yes, MS was
    late to the Internet-party, but .NET and Silverlight, among many other recent
    MS technologies, are well designed and powerful. You can have a serious
    argument that .NET is superior to Java and easily win an argument about the
    technical superiority of Silverlight vs. Flash. The fact that MS
    “copied” or “stole” is irrelevant. Technological advances always stand on the
    shoulders of those who came before. That’s
    okay!  

    People still complain that
    MS unfairly “killed” WordPerfect, Lotus 123, Mozilla, etc.  Isn’t it the fiduciary responsibility of any profit making company to
    aggressively compete against their competitors? MS was successful because they built a better mouse trap.

    Based on my preliminary – and admittedly shallow –
    understanding of Windows 8, I am impressed by MS’s plans. They recognize that smartphones, tablets, and
    other yet-to-be-invented computing devices are becoming increasingly important and
    they also decided to invest in a _single_ platform that can support all of
    these devices. The idea of developing
    and supporting applications for the PC, tablet, phone, etc. is obviously a
    dead-end (again IMHO).  While I have no
    doubt that Windows 8 will have its failings, I believe MS is aiming at the
    right target. Very interesting times :).

    Furthermore, I think W8 will further accelerate the
    improvement of computing technologies by competitors such as Apple, Google, … A
    big win for “us” — the people who actually use this stuff every day!

     
    Looking forward to intelligent (fact based) comments.  Thanks!

    • Capt_Ron

      VERY well said.
      Thank you for an insightful comment.

    • Capt_Ron

      VERY well said.
      Thank you for an insightful comment.

    • Dave

      quote—”MS unfairly “killed” WordPerfect, Lotus 123, Mozilla, etc.  Isn’t it the fiduciary responsibility of any profit making company toaggressively compete against their competitors?”

      Well, I still think it was dirty pool that they made computer manufacturers agree that they can get a copy of the os next to nothing ($2 per machine) if they exclusively put that and any other software microsoft deems to market on the installation. That effectively shut down the linux market in the US from consumers buying computers with linux. Apple made a deal with Microsoft when they switched to intel hardware platforms that they will lock out the install process from pc users. The lite versions of office was free in the beginning, but over time the free software turned into a demo once microsoft had people thinking microsoft office everything.  

    • Dave

      quote—”MS unfairly “killed” WordPerfect, Lotus 123, Mozilla, etc.  Isn’t it the fiduciary responsibility of any profit making company toaggressively compete against their competitors?”

      Well, I still think it was dirty pool that they made computer manufacturers agree that they can get a copy of the os next to nothing ($2 per machine) if they exclusively put that and any other software microsoft deems to market on the installation. That effectively shut down the linux market in the US from consumers buying computers with linux. Apple made a deal with Microsoft when they switched to intel hardware platforms that they will lock out the install process from pc users. The lite versions of office was free in the beginning, but over time the free software turned into a demo once microsoft had people thinking microsoft office everything.  

  • Richard Walker

    This is a joke, right?

  • Tom

    “What about older PCs?”

    Move on. Apple has been neglecting backward compatibility for years. Windows performs badly partly because it tries to maintain a certain amount of compatibility with the past, which is asinine.

    I, for one, welcome Windows 8. After all, Microsoft’s choices are limited. If it does not do something groundbreaking soon, it will fall into oblivion.

    Life is risky. Chances are fleeting, so grab them while you can.

  • Brandon

    It definitely is a huge gamble. If they screw this up they’ll be alienating not only hardware vendors from supporting their specifications, but also software folks from migrating their work to HTML5+JS. I, personally, am not looking fwd to going “back” (came from web dev) to doing HTML, but hope that MS can create or enhance dev tools like VisualStudio to make it less cumbersome and more efficient.

  • SpiritualMadMan

    Ouch! I do everything possible to maintain a “Clean” Desktop, now there is no such thing as a “Clean” Desktop. I hope KDE doesn;t do this!

  • Brian Sussman

    Sounds like a marketing disaster

  • rtpHarry

    I’m suprised nobody has mentioned so far that this looks like a new skin on Windows Media Center. For my desktop use this new UI is nothing interesting. As a power user I will probably find myself reluctant to use it on a tablet as well because its dumbed down for people that dont know how to work computers and it will probably just get in my way. I’m not hating on the idea though, its probably going to be great for the masses.

    This is just a very thin layer of eye candy so that casual observers can start to get excited about it. This clearly isn’t what is going to take them all another year to develop. They are re-architecting everything from the sounds of it and we wont see the real benefits and potential of this until they start releasing more technical details over the coming months.

  • Santa_ryan

    As soon as he swiped away the metro UI and brought up the desktop UI, the first thing i thought was “Oh Great, a Fancy Media Center App, now called Metro UI”. But… as i look more into it, this is just simply amazing.

  • Adicniv

    the same folks writing off microsoft wrote off apple 15 years ago

    • Phil_klassen

      except MS doesn’t have a crackpot/creative genius behind them.  They have Steve Ballmer. 
      DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!……………….

  • Adicniv

    the same folks writing off microsoft wrote off apple 15 years ago

  • Francisco Lopez

    do not want!!!!! how can i manage: 3 browsers 20+ web pages on each, my IDE and the programming manuals on my 3 monitors on this ipad looking POS.

    • Guest

      It looks nothing like an iPad. I don’t see the appeal on a desktop either, but saying it’s a copy or even close to iPad is just bs.

  • Terryomsn

    From 2007, “Computerworld - Apple Inc.’s iPhone will debut June 29, the company announced in new television commercials that aired Sunday night on the CBS news show 60 Minutes.”
    Please tell me what exactly MSFT has done, other than to continue to copy Apple.  They’ve taken at least 5 years to do that.
    The release pendulum (XP, Vista, 7) is now due for another Vista.
    Your freaking Windows 7 phone is nowhere in the same ballpark as an iPhone.  Even that was years late, and a less than acceptable copy of the iPhone.
    The world will be a better place with the 500 lb gorilla (or should I say chimpanzee?).

    • Inspectorrenaultisanutjob

      You mean the iPhone that Apple copied from LG’s Prada?

  • Bob

    Definitely a huge gamble. I think it works well for a tablet, but don’t see the need or advantage for a desktop. And I’m concerned about how much time they’ve invested in a UI, which many of us will probably end up disabling, at the expense of the many other areas in  Windows which need to be improved. 

  • Unix Bigot

    Where’s the recycle bin?

  • Bill Dwyer

    I don’t think everyone is as “cloud oriented” as MS and even some of the Linux distros think, especially when it comes to personal data.  Yes, there are better file systems than NTFS, in fact that was supposed to be one of the big improvements in Win 7.  At any rate, I’ll be keeping Win 7 as long as possible!  BTW this looks great on a touch screen PC, but not everyone can afford a $900.00+ PC!

  • Bill Dwyer

    I don’t think everyone is as “cloud oriented” as MS and even some of the Linux distros think, especially when it comes to personal data.  Yes, there are better file systems than NTFS, in fact that was supposed to be one of the big improvements in Win 7.  At any rate, I’ll be keeping Win 7 as long as possible!  BTW this looks great on a touch screen PC, but not everyone can afford a $900.00+ PC!

  • http://www.letseehere.com Johnathan Leppert

    All I see here is a new “Active Desktop” interface with gestures and a springy deconstruction interface.

    • Spq4489

       So how do my gestures and swipes and touch screen actions do real work like edit only the first occurance of a regular expression on each line it is found in a set of files spread across storage? 

      To this day there are use cases where GUI and mouse click still can’t cut the butter.

      Methinks NTFS is still so popular because Microsoft has failed to replace it with a filesystem that has vastly improved features – didn’t they cancel a new filesystem from Vista because they just couldn’t pull it off?  Defragmenting is so 90s and journaled filesystems have been around for an eternity in technology lifespan, sheesh.

    • Shawn

      This is so going to suck from a technicians point of view: just another layer of crap to surf through to get to what we want.  LOAD ANDROID ON YOUR PC!

  • Dave

    look web tv/ phone os for the computer….. hate it
    instead of trying to have a new look,,, they should be looking at making thier fixed version of windows vista (windows 7) more efficient, more backwards compatible.

    the file copy dialog was only complicated to people that didn’t know how to organize thier files.

    the major issues that I see is that alot of programs rely on too many os related modules like microsoft .net and internet explorer as the gule for thier program ( Quickbooks is just one of the may that require internet expolrer, microsoft office files and .net. This program is actually a python db running on script pages on a web interface with out the url navigation.)

    Apple for years was the king of multimedia because they left the programming up to the programmers and its bsd/linux roots alone. The only major change was going to the PC based harware (yes, its just a pc inside an apple know). Apple should have not agreed to leave its os resticted to the Apple PC. But there is OSX86 that is a hacked verion that doesn’t look for a computer’s model # in bios and runs the apple based software just as good and sometimes better ( hardware is the performance variable). 

    There was no: “you have to use this program module in order to use set hardware (80% of program crashes were caused by the growing pains (320 updates later, XP api’s are finally stable)”  Windows took out the direct hardware reads and writes in Vista-7. Thats why special application devices ( embrodary macines, professional A/V equipment,  acrade photo booths, ect. ) have no luck working properly and thus stuck in XP or below.

    Nobody is going to get rid of thier $10,000 machine because a $20 piece of software that cost $300 retail says: “your hardware is not compatible, please replace your device with a device that is windows__ compatible”

  • Dave

    look web tv/ phone os for the computer….. hate it
    instead of trying to have a new look,,, they should be looking at making thier fixed version of windows vista (windows 7) more efficient, more backwards compatible.

    the file copy dialog was only complicated to people that didn’t know how to organize thier files.

    the major issues that I see is that alot of programs rely on too many os related modules like microsoft .net and internet explorer as the gule for thier program ( Quickbooks is just one of the may that require internet expolrer, microsoft office files and .net. This program is actually a python db running on script pages on a web interface with out the url navigation.)

    Apple for years was the king of multimedia because they left the programming up to the programmers and its bsd/linux roots alone. The only major change was going to the PC based harware (yes, its just a pc inside an apple know). Apple should have not agreed to leave its os resticted to the Apple PC. But there is OSX86 that is a hacked verion that doesn’t look for a computer’s model # in bios and runs the apple based software just as good and sometimes better ( hardware is the performance variable). 

    There was no: “you have to use this program module in order to use set hardware (80% of program crashes were caused by the growing pains (320 updates later, XP api’s are finally stable)”  Windows took out the direct hardware reads and writes in Vista-7. Thats why special application devices ( embrodary macines, professional A/V equipment,  acrade photo booths, ect. ) have no luck working properly and thus stuck in XP or below.

    Nobody is going to get rid of thier $10,000 machine because a $20 piece of software that cost $300 retail says: “your hardware is not compatible, please replace your device with a device that is windows__ compatible”

  • http://www.thoughtful.co Chris Lynch

    Metro is awesome. It is. I really, really liked the video… until you see the old school Win7 OS look and feel with ribbons to try and make the buttons bigger. It’s so jarring that it’s almost comical. Too bad… this feels like design by committee and design ended up losing.

  • http://www.thoughtful.co Chris Lynch

    Metro is awesome. It is. I really, really liked the video… until you see the old school Win7 OS look and feel with ribbons to try and make the buttons bigger. It’s so jarring that it’s almost comical. Too bad… this feels like design by committee and design ended up losing.

  • Crrfs12

    The split keyboard was mad by apple in ios 5, you guys are cheap and have no originality, apple rules and Microsoft drools.

  • Joseph Upton

    The real test is when someone actually tries to USE windows 8. I have tried it (on a non-touchscreen laptop) and found it severely wanting. I intend to avoid it whenever possible.