Thursday, June 2, 2011

Windows 8 gets previewed at AllThingsD

The post-event conversation reminds me of the post-debate spin of a Presidential campaign, with Windows supporters talking about how the giant software company has been able to incorporate touch into its main OS product, while critics accuse Microsoft of simply putting lipstick on a pig, layering new features on its Windows 7 system.
Both sides have a point, of course. But it should be remember that Microsoft is not promising to launch Windows 8 anytime soon. In fact, we really won't have a good idea of a launch date until Microsoft holds its developer conference in mid-September.

Charles Arthur of The Guardian has a fairly unbiased look at the preview given yesterday by Steve Sinofsky, the head of the Windows and Windows Live division, and if you have the time you can watch the entire on-stage conversation on the WSJ site.

Perhaps not surprisingly, John Gruber lays into Microsoft a bit on his Daring Fireball site. The all-things-Apple writer calls what he has seen so far "a fundamentally flawed idea" because Microsoft appears to have simply layered the new features on top of the older operating system. He does, however, praise several features showcased in the AllThingsD conference presentation.

I'm actually surprised that he didn't go a little farther. For me, one of the most revolutionary things Apple did with Snow Leopard was make the OS leaner. Mac users who upgraded to Snow Leopard were thrilled to find that their OS now took up less space on their Macs than the older system, something that is usual to say the least.

Layering touch features onto Windows 7, then, is simply Microsoft being Microsoft.

But then again, why was this presentation even made? To me it like those tablet previews so many companies have conducted where the product is "shown", demoed in video only, and then a future launch date is promised, though rarely delivered. With Apple's WWDC right around the corner, there may have been a need to show Windows users something, anything, in order to protect market share once again.

This may explain the rather poorly produced video Microsoft released in support of the Windows 8 preview: