Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky at D9 (live blog)

June 1, 2011


8:01PM And that’s a wrap! Stay tuned — Nokia’s head man Stephen Elop will be taking the stage next!
8:00PM Also, in case you haven’t noticed, apps are definitely going to be a part of Windows 8. No one specifically said that, but it’s pretty obvious.
7:59PM An OEM could make a tablet in which the user would never see “normal Windows?” No, you can’t turn “the desktop” off, it’s just part of the way that it works. It’s always there. The code is there.”
7:58PM Question: Could I make a tablet where you never see the “old house?”
Answer: You’d have to just not use a desktop-based application. In other words, it’ll always live there.
Question: How is this different than TouchSmart, or just another layer on top of Windows?
“It’s not a layer, it’s Windows. It runs across hundreds of millions of PCs, and works across a vast variety of machines. It’s much more seamless than a layer, it’s not two shelves.”
Question on if Microsoft’s going to be integrating its services in Windows 8. Steven’s affirming that it’ll happen. Office 365, etc.
          The Windows 8 convertible shown in this demo was running on Atom —  lower-level specifications. Asked about development, Steven confirmed that the browser within Windows 8 will run Silverlight. We support the most, different ways to reach users. Asked about a transition strategy for ARM, Steven says there won’t be a virtualization model. The company decided that the modern apps, written in HTML5 and Java, etc., will likely provide the best user experience. On a side note: check out Cloud Computing Zone
  • 4:48 pm Walt: Will these start up as fast as a MacBook Air or iPad? Steven: We can do that. We have things we’ll talk about in September.
  • 4:47 pm Walt: What about when this gets in the hands of the OEMs, and someone wants to pay them to install some trial software or craplets. Now they can put them in your tiles. Dell or HP… I guess HP is moving away from Windows. Dell or somebody… are they gonna… Julie: I think the most important thing is that the customer is in control, so adding and removing tiles or apps is super easy.
Walt wants to know if Windows 8 machines will boot “as fast as a MacBook Air.” Steven won’t give a straight answer.
“Adding and removing programs is super easy within Windows 8.”
Steven just runs Microsoft Security Essentials, and I never get a pop-up. Problem is, the vast majority of Windows-based PCs have all sorts of annoying security software loaded on. The question is: will a future Lenovo tablet come with Security Essentials, or some Norton program on there? Walt’s worried about tiles being cluttered with these very apps.
  • 4:44 pm Walt: What about security? Will I have to run this antivirus software? Steven: I think it’s always good to run security software… Walt: Do you run security software on your Mac? Steven: On my Mac? I’ll run whatever they push down to me this week…
  • 4:43 pm Steven is talking about writing on a tablet “tapping on glass” versus a keyboard. There is something kind of dismissive about it. As a keyboard fan, I hear him, but he seems to be discounting the idea that people’s habits and comfort might change. Or their use cases.
XXXX So let me get this straight.. it seems like Microsoft is saying that Windows 8 will essentially have 2 versions in 1 A tablet OS and a regular desktop OS that you can switch between?? XXXX You go through with the arrow keys, the mouse, using the Windows key… Walt: You’re keeping the Windows key? Julie: Yes, that’s how you get to Start. Walt: So, if I’m a developer. Am I confronted by a philosophical difference between an app that uses a mouse, or one that is for touch or for a tablet. You call this touch first, but in terms of the apps, if you’re saying hey this is Windows. Then I have to figure out — it really affects the way I design my app. Steven: Apps can connect to each other. It’s not just apps alone, it’s applications connecting to each other.                                  
7:39PM Steven’s talking up connectivity — in September, we’ll hear about apps talking and sharing and consuming information from other apps. An example, here’s a photo app that can publish photos from another photo app that peeks into the cloud to get it.
7:38PM Walt: “You’ll have a dev conference in September, and will you have developer tools so that third-party apps can look like this?”Steven: “Yes! There’s all new APIs so you can build things to look like this. You’ll have access to entirely new services (like the photo file picker).”
                                    Walt: You’re going to give developers tools to make their apps look like this? Steven: Oh yeah, we built these in house, but we’re giving devs APIs and an SDK based on HTML5 and Javascript that allows them to create apps like this. We have lots of new tools, but still you can connect to our file tools, etc. My impression so far XXXX IPAD 3 BABY!! This is NOT EVEN CLOSE XXXX
7:36PM Is Microsoft worried that enterprise users may see this and think it’s too consumer-focused?
Not really — employees are consumers too, and the lines have blurred somewhat. That has definitely been a recurring theme throughout D9, starting with Eric Schmidt’s line that traditional IT is dead.
7:35PM When’s it coming out?Steven: “Right now, we’re focused on getting the release done, and the next milestone is the developer conference in September. We’re aiming to keep new Windows builds coming every two the three years. I can tell you it won’t be this fall.”
7:35PM Kara seemed fairly upset that Office still takes you back to what’s effectively a Windows 7 interface; the Microsoft team seems to think that Office will be lagging behind when it comes to a refined interface.
7:34PM Walt: “This seems like the biggest change in Windows since Windows 95.”
7:33PM So, there’s a fancy new interface, but Microsoft’s stance from Computex 2010 hasn’t changed in the least. There’s just a single OS. Touch, non-touch, laptop, desktop, tablet — one OS. The question remains: will a hulking Windows install actually feel elegant when used on a tablet?
We beg to differ. This is not a fundamental change in what Windows is anymore than TouchSmart, or a webOS skin that runs atop the platform. Walt: This is the biggest change since… Julie: Since Windows 95. Walt: But it’s even bigger than that. Microsoft’s stance from Computex 2010 hasn’t changed in the least. There’s just a single OS. Touch, non-touch, laptop, desktop, tablet — one OS. The question remains: will a hulking Windows install actually feel elegant when used on a tablet? Steven: All of Windows is here, so if you want to plug in a keyboard and a mouse, you can use it. XXXX NOT GOOD XXXX Seems like an optional skin you can turn off and on.. now they’re back on the traditional Windows 7 ish skin.. on a Lenovo laptop They just pulled up Excel, and now it looks just like Windows 7! Hmm. Microsoft: “We don’t think people should have to give up things they know to deal with a new form factor.” Every desktop app will run in this environment, and the Internet Explorer has been rebuilt for more modern demands and usage expectations. Whoa, the start tiles have “definitely replaced” the Start Menu. RIP Start Menu! Lots of Mango like tiles Photos! No more blank desktop! It’s a WP7-esque interface — tons of tiles pop up when you come to “the desktop,” and it looks totally customizable.
Steven: All of the work we do will go across all these platforms.
We’ve looked from the ground up about how you interact with Windows, the kinds of programs you can run… a word we used a lot was ‘modern’
7:16PM Steven: “We colored outside of the lines with this release, and we’re excited about it.” Likewise!
Steven: “Give us some time — we’ll figure out the real name in due time.” uh oh – will the name really be Windows 8?
  • 4:12 pm Walt: So you have this new Windows… what are you calling it? Steven: We have this code name… Windows 8.
  • 4:11 pm Now Steven is talking about the decision to switch to ARM — “We looked at this and said we can do that.”
  • 4:11 pm Walt: But not the room. Steven: No, actually they do.
  • 4:11 pm Steven: Well at any rate, with 7, we went down on system requirements. But something interesting happened along the way — what were the requirements for a phone, or a smartphone? Their requirements have been doubling every six months, and now they have the requirements to run Windows.
  • 4:10 pm Walt: Like Vista, that was a great example. Steven: Well… Walt: In my experience, you needed a new computer to run Vista…
  • 4:09 pm Steven: Well everyone said the same thing about servers… Walt: Well not everyone. Steven: Obviously, it’s a fair question, but it’s unfair, and I signed up for either. The thing that’s most fascinating about the evolution of Windows is yeah, it grew up with hardware, and at some point, we reached a plateau and we said we don’t need some of these requirements.
So, a new, full version of Windows on tablet. We’re just calling it Windows 8 right now, says Steven. Walt: I’m not a coder, but I understand there is a lot of legacy stuff in Windows. Lots of customers you have to support. It’s this big bulky thing. You have this sense on your own computer, that the longer you use it, the more sluggish it gets. When you put on an iPad, it feels light and new and responsive. I don’t want to sound like a straight man — you have this problem, you were doing tablets and they didn’t catch on, the guys in Cupertino are rocking — why would you turn to this heavy OS? Picture of Windows 8 [caption id="attachment_3882" align="alignnone" width="550"]Windows 8 for tablets Windows 8 for tablets[/caption] Steven While Windows 7 “has it,” the company understood that things needed to be attacked differently for tablets. Steven “Over the 25 years of Windows, I’ve been impressed with the flexibility of Windows. It started as giant machines with few resources.” Platforms Walt and Steven are talking about how the places Windows would appear and the kinds of systems it’s on now versus older desktop and laptop iterations. Clearly leading towards an ARM conversation here. Interesting Steven, speaking about matching the iPad: “We aren’t there yet, but we’ll get to some of that today.” New
  • Steven: There are different rhythms and timescales — the world of browsers looks like that. It’s only been 16 months on the iPad, and little longer on the iPhone. I think today we’ll see what we’re doing in touch interfaces and the touch world.
  • Steven: There’s an opportunity for us to do a better job. Walt: You don’t think there’s a systemic issue of being nimble at Microsoft? Steven: People always want when something big comes out, they want to see it from another company. But there are parallel processes going on.
Seated Joke Walt just asked how Steven feels about not being in Eric Schmidt’s “Gang Of Four.” He seems to be playing it down a bit… Here he is introducing Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows and Windows Live Team. He used to run office A couple of Windows 8 tablets? Getting close Setting up We are waiting for Steven Sinofsky to appear.. [caption id="attachment_3859" align="alignnone" width="450"]Steven Sinofsky Steven Sinofsky[/caption] This should be interesting…]]>

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Mike Johnson is a writer for The Redmond Cloud - the most comprehensive source of news and information about Microsoft Azure and the Microsoft Cloud. He enjoys writing about Azure Security, IOT and the Blockchain.

All Comments

  • Will this be on google somewhere so we can all watch the interview?

    xinu June 1, 2011 4:10 pm Reply
  • Hmmm, I don’t know what to think. I like the new touch interface but it
    still confuses me when seeing the old Windows pop up. I hope Microsoft
    isn’t making the same mistake they made with Windows Mobile and it’ll
    take another 3-4 years for them to learn and just make an OS thats full
    touch (actually they have one and its called Windows Phone 7).
    thing they should really do is let manufactures make a choice between
    using Windows 8 or Windows phone 7 (or windows phone 8 if thats out by
    then) as the OS for their tablet. I see it this way it would be a choice
    for the consumer. Some consumers may not want a full Windows tablet and
    may just want the Windows Phone tablet (which would probably be cheaper
    because the Windows tablet would probably have stronger specs). Some
    people may buy 2 tablets, one for work and one for home (or their work
    will buy them a tablet).
    I won’t rule out the Windows 8 tablet
    yet. I’ll have to see how the OS looks and feels when its finished. I
    was just thrown by having the nice new slab of paint but then seeing the
    old Windows. It reminded me of using Windows Mobile 6.5 and seeing the
    old Windows Mobile OS as I drilled down. Hopefully they learned and its
    only main apps like Office (that I might be able to deal with). If they
    can get enough devs to change their apps to look like the new OS it
    might be fine and if MS starts to make their apps (next new version of
    Office for example), to use the new OS and get rid of the old look in
    tablet view all together, this may be a win.

    Robert Kegel June 1, 2011 5:25 pm Reply

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