Windows 8: Two, Two, Two Operating Systems in One

By  |  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.)


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5 Comments For This Post

  1. Woolly Mittens Says:

    Such a pointless exercise. There'll be the pretty one and the one you'll actually be using to get anything done.

  2. Aaron Martin-Colby Says:

    @Wooly: I’ve speculated the same thing. People have shown a willingness to buy that, though, and Microsoft has struggled to otherwise convince people that upgrading is necessary.

  3. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    If you want this today, you can already get it on an iPad, only the desktop system runs over VNC and can be Mac, Windows, Linux, or anything. And if it became popular, Apple could do a built-in iPad app called "Lion" that brings up the display of a cloud Mac via Back To My Mac if they wanted. You can already boot a recent Mac from their cloud. Lion, of course, is pretty touchable, too. Finder is much readier for touch than Explorer. Running the desktop system in VNC saves about 98% of the battery life. And what is stopping Apple from shipping a MacPad? Nothing at all.

    With Windows 8, the user is going to want to install about 10 apps, and they are likely to have to use 5 or more different methods, including CD/DVD, and the apps will look 5 different ways, open files 5 different ways, make different assumptions, get updated 5 different ways. The user will be told at some point by tech support to run Registry Editor. They have to run anti-virus. They … can't believe this … have a C: drive and associated bugs from 1981 DOS! To switch from iPad to Windows 8 there are DOS LESSONS! They have no auto-backup (both iPad and Mac auto-backup.) Where there is a Metro UI, it will be missing some features you will have to go sometimes into the desktop view to get at. It will as usual have trouble sleeping and waking reliably. It is going to be a riot of complexity compared to iPad, which is all Windows competes with anymore. Mac vs PC is over, Apple has over 90% of the high-end market. For Microsoft to think that what we have seen so far from Windows 8 is iPad-competitive, they have to be in deep denial. The 2 top Windows PC makers just had their worst quarter ever. The platform is winding down right now. Microsoft's answer to that is some really ugly screenshots showing yet another meaningless remix of Windows Explorer, an app that is OBSOLETE for 90% of humanity, that literally should so never be shown to those users, Apple left their equivalent — Finder — off iPad altogether. Talk about rallying the troops … to liquidate their Windows PC businesses!

  4. Microsoft project Says:

    Great post. I like your work. I will read more your post.

  5. Video maker Says:

    Is there any benefit for this operating system ? it will be like of binary codes !