The road to Windows 8 Part 1 – The BUILD conference

October 11, 2011
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  • The BUILD conference
  • Microsoft’s overall vision
  • My thoughts about the new user interface (Metro Style)
  • What this will mean to developers
  • What this will mean to consumers
  • What this will mean to businesses (enterprise)
  • So let’s begin at the beginning – The BUILD conference. I was one of the few bloggers/journalists fortunate enough to get a press pass to cover BUILD last month in Anaheim California. I have a ton of photos and articles from the conference and you can see those here. I also bumped into Steven Sinofsky early that morning – it was hilarious. The BUILD conference was a very good way to introduce Windows 8 to the world. For the first time in a very long time there was a lot of buzz about a Microsoft product and there was tons of demand to get in and see what all the fuss was about. [caption id="attachment_8447" align="alignnone" width="590"]BUILD conference Anaheim convention center BUILD conference Anaheim convention center[/caption] This was a developers conference. It was positioned as a developer conference and was executed as such. Managers and executives would have been bored out of their skulls during everything after the main keynote speech. There were lots of technical details and presentations and Microsoft were very accommodating with both developers and members of the media. Having said all that, there were some hiccups. The way the developer preview tablet giveaway was handled was pretty tacky. Here’s what really happened. Before the conference, a select few “elite” bloggers were invited to come in early for a sneak peek at the new tablet. These “elite” bloggers were then given “loaner” Samsung tablets for the duration of the conference and were allowed to demo them and play around with them during the conference. So the dynamic in the press room was awkward. You had a bunch of journalists and bloggers sitting at different tables and some had tablets but most did not – but we were really all there to cover the tablets. [caption id="attachment_8446" align="alignnone" width="590"]samsung windows 8 tablet samsung windows 8 tablet[/caption] It was RIDICULOUS. Then, Microsoft gave out 5000 tablets to all the developers in attendance and (they swear) they took back the tablets they loaned out to the press and bloggers. I think a few “connected” bloggers got to keep their tablets on the DL but obviously I cant prove it. Here’s the really funny part – when you asked the Microsoft officials there about getting a loaner tablet, they told you that “they didn’t have enough and that these were developer tablets”. Note to Microsoft – Please understand that when a company that has 10’s of billions of dollars in the bank says “Samsung didn’t make enough” or “We have run out of tablets”, it sounds incredibly condescending and stupid at the very same time. All reporters should have gotten a tablet! It’s a simple tablet device that will be obsolete in a few months with software that most reporters could care less about. Also if you gave a loaner to everyone, it would have been more fair because ironically now there IS the appearance of impropriety. It can now be argued that the”important” or “elite” bloggers got loaners as bribes so they write good reviews about Microsoft and Windows 8. I’m just saying… In my opinion, it was like having a really fancy party in Beverly Hills but buying less champagne than required – it took some of the luster and shine off the event. By the way, I really couldn’t care less about the tablet, I have an Ipad 2 – just making the point. 🙂 Anyway, the bloggers were all really nice there. I met Ed Bott, Paul Thurrott, Long Zheng, Tom Warren, Rafael Rivera, Mary Jo Foley, Kip Kniskern, Stephen Chapman and a whole lot more. They were all very nice people who do a lot of hard work covering Microsoft related products. It’s hard work and they put a lot of time in so read their stuff! Microsoft did do an excellent job at hosting the press in the Hilton Anaheim on the second floor across from the convention center. [caption id="attachment_8444" align="alignnone" width="590"]BUILD PRESS ROOM BUILD PRESS ROOM[/caption] It was really funny –  the press room was really open and nice with internet connections and nice catered lunches. However, when we went across the street to the convention center for the first keynote speech (Sinofsky), we were hearded together like a pack of billygoats about to be slaughtered. On day 2, most of the press (myself included) were like – “screw it, we’ll cover the keynote from the press room – it has wifi!” Other than the petty tablet snafus and minor issues, the conference was fantastic. Microsoft accomplished exactly what they wanted with the conference and introduced Windows 8 to the world. It was the ideal blueprint for future “soft” developer product launches and the planning team at Microsoft and Wag Ed (their PR team) should be very proud. Like I said above, check out the pictures and articles from the conference. It really was a good time. My next post will go into more detail on the vision that Microsoft have for Windows 8 and why a lot of it makes sense. Stay tuned..]]>

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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.

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