Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Filling in the gaps on Win 8

Well, the big Microsoft BUILD conference kicks off in Anaheim in just a few hours. I have all systems go (literally) for the keynotes, the blog posts, the tweets, the articles. But mostly I am ready for Microsoft to begin filling in the gaps on what we don't know about Windows 8 so far--which is a lot. :) From what I've seen (which is not much, just what's been publicly available so far on posted video), I like the approach, the look, the movement, the strategy. I'm not so sure how the dual approach (the touch metro Start screen and the familiar Windows desktop) will work together. Will it confuse people? Will it be more trouble than it's worth?

And of course I write a lot about Microsoft Office applications, so I'm wondering also about how touch will arrive in the next version of Office. I could see that the ribbon might be touch-friendly (for some of us, anyway). But what other changes will need to happen for the next version of Office to make the most of a verson of Windows "built from the ground up"? We shall see.

Since green technology is also a love of mine, I'm curious about how Windows 8 will work with the cloud. Office 365 launched in June and is doing pretty well (two outages that I know of so far but nothing major, and folks seem to be really liking and using the tools); how will Windows 8 make saving to and from Office 365 and interacting with colleagues even more seamless? (One feature that will be cool is two-way video chat, which I've heard is coming with the new Mango phones. Can't wait!)

So there's lots to anticipate, and what we hear today may energize the developer community and excite tech writers like me...or not. Some pundits are saying Microsoft really needs Win 8 to be a big win in order to stay relevant in today's tablet-and-phone-driven tech world. I see Windows 8 as more of an opportunity for Microsoft than a do-or-die gamble; I think Microsoft has weathered many storms (for example, Windows ME and Windows Vista) and no matter how we react to Windows 8, she will keep on keepin' on.

Want to follow BUILD? @bldwin, @jeffjames3, @thurrott (and many, many more)

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