Windows 8 – My thoughts from the BUILD conference so far

September 13, 2011

rough notes and the point where I gave up here. OK, here’s my summary. Windows 8 looks good. Very good. Surprisingly good. It looks fast and fluid and the apps are (so far) very appealing. I’ll break my opinions about Windows 8 so far into 3 groups:

  • Developers
  • Consumers
  • Enterprise


You are beloved. Microsoft has spent a lot of time, money and energy on you. The development tools, methodology, philosophy and direction looks REALLY good. A lot of emphasis and thought has been put into making things easy and intuitive for developers. There are lots of predefined classes and packages will be available for developers to create metro style applications using Visual Studio among other tools. It’s clear from all the attention being paid to dev tools that Microsoft has decided to guarantee that the developers are really happy. Giving 5000 Samsung tablets away doesn’t hurt either. When this is all said and done, it will be easier for developers to write fewer lines of code and achive much more. At least that’s the plan and based on the demos, it’s pretty impressive.


This is going to be a lot trickier and I am afraid that this is where there may be more problems that lie ahead. Over the next few weeks, you’ll get a chance to see the user interface and see that it’s a double edged sword. You see it’s really beautiful but it’s a LOT to get used to. There are tons of new commands, tons of idiosyncracies, tweaks, new UI flourishes, new directions, finger movements etc.. You see, when you see the touch version of the UI, it’s really, really different from what consumers are used to and the emphasis seems to be on fluidity, power and speed. Unfortunately, I cannot at this point say the UI will be easier for consumers to use. I keep on coming back to the fact that this is very very different than what consumers are used to. Very different from what Ipad users will be used to. Very very different. I think that four things need to happen in order for consumers to flock to these applications and the Windows 8 touch interface.
  1. Microsoft need to figure out how to (even further) simplify the touch UI than they have.
  2. Microsoft need to do an extended period of pre-selling and marketing the touch user interface.
  3. Microsoft need to make sure that they do NOT release the touch interface before 1 and 2 above.
  4. The Windows 8 tablets have to be introduced at a discounted price. This should not be Ipad priced.
I’ll go into even more detail about the consumer in a later post.


I have having to predict this and I have to say, I’m not sure because this is a combo of consumers and developers. On one hand, it can be argued that developers will be able to create productive enterprise applications easily, faster and more efficiently. On the other hand, if consumers or workers aren’t happy with the UI, all that won’t matter. It can also be argued that based on the tools that Microsoft are providing, developers could take those tools and create applications that are better than their framework. Too early to tell. Anyway, this is just day 2 at the BUILD conference. Lots of information being thrown at us. Stay tuned to for the most comprehensive news and information about Windows 8. By the way, go download the Windows 8 Developer Preview. It’s now widely and freely available…  ]]>

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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

  • Can you tell me about WPF and Silverlight?
    And what is the proposed method to develop cross-platform apps so far?
    Can XAML generate HTML5 or they are totally in the different world.

    Panya September 13, 2011 6:55 pm Reply
  • What was shown at Build was primarily the Metro UI. People who don’t want to use it, or need time to get up to speed with it, can use the conventional UI that is available in W8.
    The main problem with enterprise will be their investment in W7. I don’t look for quick adoption of W8 by companies with lots of W7 computers. It’s a different story for people who work in these companies. You may see many adopting W8 on tablets or combo tablet/PCs for their own use, as well as Windows Phone 7, because of the tight integration with their office computers and their use of their office software on their portable devices.
    I don’t see consumers who like iOS and Android devices flocking to W8. Most of those consumers don’t have a need for the full blown Windows features.
    I’m a W7 user with a desktop and a netbook. I’ll probably replace the netbook with a W8 tablet/PC combo like those from Toshiba and Asus, but I’ll wait to get the Tegra 3 version for performance reasons. The Atom is to slow and the i5 is too expensive.

    Elwood Anderson September 13, 2011 7:16 pm Reply
  • It was obvious that the preview is not aimed at either consumers or enterprise as it is an Alpha version who should not have gone public to begin with.Moreover, Microsoft and its partners should not even attempt to sell cheaper Windows 8 Tablet than iPad unless those tablets are ARM based and aimed as working only as slates. And even those devices should not be cheaper than iPad at the expense of their  hardware and overall quality.
    According to me the key to beat Apple is not to built and try to sell cheaper poorer quality devices with a too thin margin for the OEM, but to design high quality, even it means more expensive, devices which offer a different though appealing experience which can’t be achieved with the equivalent Apple devices.
    If selling cheaper devices was the key to beat Apple many tablets would have already outsold the iPad (Archos anyone ?) and almost all PC OEM would have kept outselling the Mac forever. Not forgetting that most smartphones would outsell the iPhone.It is not the case because all those companies try to compete with cheaper devices or devices which can’t offer an overall more appealing experience than Apple ones.
    With Windows 8, i suggest that Microsoft has a no compromise strategy in all aspects:
    1. No compromise for Tablet and new devices hardware quality and power:I think that Microsodt is already doing it with Tablet, i hope that they extend it to other PC devices too.They must convince OEM that it is in their best interest.Otherwise they will be wiped out by Apple slowly but surely and it would be a disaster for everyone.
    2. No compromise for software and hardware integration:Microsoft doesn’t need to go as far as Apple but must insure that there is a sufficient level of integration between new devices and Windows 8 to provide great user experience. It seems that it is already the case for ARM based devices but it must be the same for all Windows 8 PC.
    3. No compromise for developper tools quality and capabilities
    4. No compromise for apps quality especially those who are not free.
    5. No compromise for services.
    6. And one of the most important item, no compromise for marketing because pathetic marketing strategy is the very thing which is killing WP7 Phones sales.

    Konanyao September 14, 2011 3:13 am Reply
  • Just one more things i don’t think that Enterprises would at first even try to migrate to Windows 8 and i don’t think that Microsoft really expects them to.
    However if the pressure for employees, especially managers, using Windows 8 is high enough, some enterprises would have to migrate to Windows 8.
    Isn’t it what happen with iPhone and iPad which are more alien to enterprises than any Microsoft related product especially Windows ?
    However it could help if there is only one Window 8 edition which can be great for both consumers and enterprises.

    Konanyao September 14, 2011 3:19 am Reply
  • And a last comment.
    Microsoft is taking a very big risk and if Tablet is just fad, it could hurt them pretty hard. I begin to wonder if this version of Windows 8 should not be aimet at Tablet only.
    Sure it seems to be able to adapt on different form of PC but i am quite disapointed by the desktop mode. I will wait to see if it can take advantage of the PC hardware to offer a prettier and more advanced experience and if the start screen will be more mouse and keyboard friendly.
    Moreover i expected the Start screen to be way prettier. At least on par with the new Xbox Dashbord or to enable the user to choose a wallpaper or a diaporama or to make a patchwork a la Zune.
    We shall see if the Beta version will bring significant improvements in these categories.
    I intend to use Windows 8 on either convertible laptop and desktops, thus i am much more interested by the laptops and desktops experience than by the tablet experience.

    Konanyao September 14, 2011 3:39 am Reply
  • I bet Microsoft is going to do a similar thing with windows 8 to teach consumer/workers that apple does to train the new guesture to its mac user….

    Owais_503 September 14, 2011 2:01 pm Reply
  • I agree with u that “Microsoft has spent a lot of time, money and energy on you. The development tools, methodology, philosophy and direction looks REALLY good”. ( and other things ). I m guesing that Microsoft did that because they need apps for windows 8 or else it wouldn’t be cool and awsome..

    Owais_503 September 14, 2011 2:05 pm Reply

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