New Rumor: Differences of opinion at MSFT re: Windows 8 dual interface strategy

July 4, 2011

This is a RUMOR – We cannot validate the truth of the story. This rumor deals with differences of opinion about the two user interfaces that will allegedly come with Windows 8. As a reminder, Windows 8 will essentially support two kinds of applications.

  1. The classic Windows application, which will run in a desktop very similar to the Windows 7 desktop.
  2. HTML5 and Javascript applications which will look more like a mobile application, filling the full screen.
Our source says that there are conflicting opinions at Microsoft regarding the way forward here. Some parties feel strongly that Windows 8 should be split into 2 separate operating systems with two separate development teams. – and that there should be no integration between the two. This way there would be two separate interfaces for two separate products. This would essentially be an Apple approach – iOS for the mobile devices and OSX for Desktops/Laptops. Another group thinks that Windows 8 should be one ultra flexible OS that allows the user to switch between interfaces. The argument (which seems to be winning) is that Windows 8 needs to do something different and that the critics, markets and developers will be happy with maximum flexibility. There apparently is also a debate about whether all versions of Windows 8 will allow dual interfaces or whether the desktop interface will be the predominant version and more expensive versions of Windows 8 (Ultimate/Enterprise etc) will allow for both. This is a RUMOR – We cannot validate the truth of the story. It’s interesting because these seem to be some very major decisions that will have an impact on whether ultimately Windows 8 will be successful. I personally agree with the 2 separate teams and products approach. I think that the stability of Windows 7 and the success of it’s interface needs to be preserved and kept separate from any tablet interface. The tablet interface looks promising but probably would be better served with it’s own separate team and separate development tools. Who knows what the right approach is. Time will ultimately tell…]]>

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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

  • This is a very interesting topic, and will be something to watch out for. Microsoft has strong arguments to go either way, however I also think that there should be two operating systems rather than one, and here is why.
    If I was using a touch screen device, I would rather all my applications where touch optimised, I would probably never switch to Windows 8 classic desktop mode as it would simply be too much of a pain to use. The same, if I’m on a desktop, I’m happy with the way things are, why have an interface which is not designed for a mouse and keyboard? All this will do is bloat the operating system and annoy users.
    I think Microsoft will realise this at some point and develop a specific Windows Touch OS, it might be heavily based on Windows 8 or 9, but its the path they will ultimately have to take.

    xinu July 4, 2011 11:42 am Reply
  • I believe this one. Seems to me that the idea to merge 2 interfaces into the same product is pretty fucking radical. Could be great and could be shit – all depends on the execution..

    Tommy Gunn July 4, 2011 11:56 am Reply
    • First of all i am surprised that Why Microsoft is launching Windows8 because Widows 7 is not still perfect . can any body tell me any product made by Microsoft is completely error Free . Microsoft couldn’t handle one interface so what they will prove their self  in two interfaces . I think Microsoft will make users fool and take money and at the final the users will though the product .As a programmer i will wish that Microsoft can deliver an error free and complete version of any product .  

      Safi ullah Khan July 4, 2011 12:19 pm Reply
      • No product is error free, you should know this as a programmer. An operating system consist of millions of lines of code and is created by hundreds of programmers from many different teams, so it would be almost impossible to create a perfect product which works 100%. Apple’s Mac OS X Snow Leopard and the new Lion are not perfect either ( although most apple fanatics think so), the same goes for all linux distributions. What Microsoft could do is improve on patches and updates they do, and correct any errors which come up throughout their products lifecycle (faster and more effectively), and I will agree Windows still has many flaws which need correcting.
        I think if Microsoft gets Windows 8 wrong, it will be complete suicide and a full scale humiliation, so we can expect Windows 8 to be a very careful and conservative OS nothing too radical.
        The new touch interface is not revolutionary as they make it seem, its simply another shell on top of the old one.

        xinu July 4, 2011 12:29 pm Reply
  • I like the concept of having 2 operating systems in one…

    Patty Assael July 4, 2011 11:57 am Reply
  • I would much rather have one OS in one device that does everything. Why would I buy a Win 8 legacy tablet then a Win 8 touch tablet…doesnt make any sense. If you never have a need for legacey programs, then dont click on the desktop tile…if all you want is a typical desktop then dont download any touch based apps.

    timotim July 4, 2011 1:26 pm Reply
  • I agree that windows 8 should be separate from the HTML5 Javascript O/S.  I think putting them together would create a very complicated O/S and there would be more trouble running it on small handheld devices.

    Everett July 4, 2011 1:30 pm Reply
  • It Will be better to have two operating système ithonk its a good idea

    Ridabenbekai July 4, 2011 1:38 pm Reply
  • I think if you have two separate systems then you’ll essentially have to use the one you have, without the ability to use the other, unless you purchase both. To be fair, I think it would be best to keep one, and make it compatible with both, much the same as something is “backwards compatible”. You wouldn’t then, have to make sure your system is compatible, or not!

    RVM July 4, 2011 3:20 pm Reply
  • it  is so  cool  but  wghen is it coming out? it will be so  cool  to try it out becuse i’m running windows 7 right now and do u we get updates  towards windows 8?

    K.P.M.Buttner July 4, 2011 5:28 pm Reply
  • Keep them separate. The users of tablets and desktops are two different kinds of people. If you want the tablet interface, buy a tablet. Without the tablet, who needs the mess. With the tablet, who needs the desktop, as they serve two different purposes. The confusion, and potential mess for the unskilled computer operators is mind boggling! More novices use Windows that use Mac, so the probability of major problems with the system, and thus loss of clients and customers for Windows is beyond one’s imagination. Putting them together would potentially be a disaster for Microsoft. Be competitive with Apple, don’t try to beat them at something they’re experts at by being so different that you confuse everyone. Microsoft, you have a chance to make a big difference in the future of computing with the success of Windows 7. Don’t blow it by being so daring that it looks and acts like stupidity.

    CowboyTech July 4, 2011 6:24 pm Reply
    • Why have 2 separate devices that reads 2 separate types of files and formats, that cant use the same web plug-ins and that forces you to switch between them based off what you want to do? Wanting to play a certain file of a certain format…oh, thats right, its on the “other” devices. Want to play a certain game…right, thats on the “other” device. Want to write out a term paper or make an AutoCad drawing…thats on the other device. Why cant we all have it in one? The UI is the only thing holding us back and the Metro UI that MS has created works very well for all the different types of input methods one could have (M&K, touch, pen, Kinect, gamepad etc.) You say tablet and desktop are 2 different people…thats only because up until this point it had never been done. I think the only choice we should have is what form factor we need the most…NOT the capability of the OS itself. One exact OS is all I need (preferably in one device).
      Smartphones have already conditioned the average user (as well as products like the iPad) to understand the touch based paradigm…this will be a continuation once these same people pick up a Windows 8 tablet. Same app store, same touch controls, same full screen apps…but also a full OS uunderneaththat looks just like their laptop or desktop at  home…this can only be a plus. ARM ensures that Windows 8 will hang with the best of them and have all the instant on and resume features a smartphone/tablet has today. I see no confusion at all. MS will advertise the crap out of Windows 8 and most will get whats going on. Again its all in the UX, and if MS can provide a UX that works well for tablets (Metro UI) while improving the M&K set up of Windows 7 then all is well.

      timotim July 5, 2011 3:25 pm Reply
  • “Another group thinks that Windows 8 should be one ultra flexible OS that allows the user to switch between interfaces.”
    And just how does one switch between a desktop environment and a tablet? Don’t tablets come pre-installed with the OS? Or are we really talking about licensing issues? Buy Windows 8 and you’ll get a license that allows it to be included on one desktop system and one tablet.

    Ben July 4, 2011 7:31 pm Reply
  • Dear Onuora Amobi
    I read almost everything from your side.
    To ensure, I am with you; you are there on all my IDs
    But this idea I couldn’t understand why you published
     “This is a RUMOR – We cannot validate the truth of the story”
    If you can’t validate why you tell hypothetical stories ???
    Well you should not waste others time reading about rumors and not the useful stuff you always have been informing us: me in particular ?.

    mkrajyana July 5, 2011 12:35 pm Reply
  • I like the direction MS is taking. I feel they should leave both the UIs in. I am 62 years old and started my life on DEC PDP 11 which had a teletype as opposed to a CRT. I was Indias first beta tester for NT 3.0. Currently I am a System & Application architect. I have seen it all. If I have adapted to changing scenarios, I can’t understand why todays younger lot find it so difficult to accept change. The hue & cry about Metro amazes me. Its nice, has a smaller resource footprint , it manages apps better (suspend & terminate- check out the video in Build 11) partly due to the way Metro apps are built and partly because of the progamming model. I have a 2-year old Asus Netbook with 2 GB RAM and it truly sucked with Win7 Home and I had stopped using it for more than a year. Then once Win8 Dev Prvw was launched and MS claimed that it would run on netbooks, I did a clean install with Win8 and now it is quite usable and I use it frequently. People have got too set in their ways, are unwilling to change and complain when faced with change (much like us old fogeys?). I applaud MS for taking such a bold step and stepping out from their comfort zone. When they started developing NT under Dave Cutler they had chutzpah. Many of you may not remember but till 3.51 NT ran on Intel, MIPS RISC, PowerPC RISC and even on SunSparc ( but never released commercially due to problems with Scott McNealy), so this is not a first for them, being on multiple platforms. More importantly MS has not abandoned the Start button (you can make it permanent thro registry hack and couple of tools are also available).  So those of you here and on Win8 blogs, stop complaining and get on with your life. Times have changed and so should you. I applaud MS and Steve Sinosky for “going where no man has gone before”.

    Atanu Ghose January 13, 2012 11:22 pm Reply

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