By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 7:02 pm
Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft’s Mr. Windows, on why the company is trying to build a Windows 8 that’s both a modern tablet OS and a smooth successor to Windows 7:
Windows 8 brings together all the power and flexibility you have in your PC today with the ability to immerse yourself in a Metro style experience. You don’t have to compromise! You carry one device that does everything you want and need. You can connect that device to peripherals you want to use. You can use devices designed to dock to large screen displays and other peripherals. You can use convertible devices that can be both immersive tablets and flexible laptops.
Which brings us back to the improvements we’re making to the desktop experience: we believe in the Windows desktop. It powers the experiences today that make a Windows 7 PC the most popular device in the world. So, even if we believe that over time many scenarios will be well-served by Metro style apps, for the foreseeable future, the desktop is going to continue to play a key role in many people’s lives. So we are going to improve it. We’re having a good dialog about what folks might think about our design choices but also wanted to put these choices in a broader context of the unmatched utility of the desktop.
Our design goal was clear: no compromises. If you want to, you can seamlessly switch between Metro style apps and the improved Windows desktop. Existing apps, devices, and tools all remain and are improved in Windows 8. On the other hand, if you prefer to immerse yourself in only Metro style apps (and platform) and the new user experience, you can do that as well! Developers can target the APIs that make sense for the software they wish to deliver. People can debate how much they need or don’t need different aspects of the product, but that has always been the case. All of this is made possible by the flexibility of Windows.
Microsoft is setting the bar of success really high–and I can’t wait to judge whether it’s succeeded for myself. (With any luck, I’ll be able to do so at its Build conference, which is coming up in a couple of weeks.)