Windows 8 is a radical shift for Microsoft, and it’s needed.
It’ll be interesting to see how Windows 9 is is impacted by Windows 8, especially because Microsoft sees the OS as a rebirth
If you think about Windows 8, it represents a hybrid of the past and the future. Microsoft hasn’t completely removed the desktop side of Windows, which would have been a bad move, while introducing the new-ish Metro UI. Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, has called the change a rebirth for the operating system.
Microsoft says the upcoming version of Windows is the most impactful the tech giant has ever created, which is quite something considering the company popularised a consumer-friendly desktop operating system. It would have been easy to produce a Windows 7.5 with a tweaked interface, but the company is at least trying to gain a foothold in the touch device market through Metro.
The company has positioned itself as the third smartphone OS, behind Android and iOS, and Ballmer said Windows 8 is the most important version of the operating system the company has ever done.
Microsoft is making sure to tie all of its devices together through a common user experience and services that are cross-platform. Obviously the experience is Metro, which is used on the Xbox 360 dashboard, but services such as SkyDrive content can be viewed across multiple devices and even remotely.
Developers, developers, developers
Ballmer also predicted a few companies would dominate cloud storage, and in a few years the service would reach critical mass. Cloud computing refers to storing information sans hard drives, which can be accessed over the Internet. Google Drive is one such service.
Ballmer also said there would be between 400 and 500 million copies of Windows, which Microsoft later clarified was a market for developers. As I’ve said before, developers are crucial if Microsoft has any chance of developing an active ecosystem that is the same across Windows devices. That probably means bringing over people from Windows XP, and to a lesser extent Vista, with Windows 7 in the future.
Whether developers will willingly code for a new, unproven platform remains to be seen. Microsoft has already demonstrated the ease of bringing apps from iOS to Windows 8, and needs developers from Windows Phone.