Yesterday Microsoft presented its new OS, codename Windows 8. When I have been at the Microsoft’s general quarter I could feel the excitement due to Windows 8. A totally new way of thinking at PCs and applications, preserving the old one. An exciting challenge. The Consumer World asks for a new application interface, dynamic representation of data, and new devices. Meanwhile business and old users want to continue using the old PC paradigm. Microsoft’s challenge is the same: legacy issues. But today it is more stressed: we are not talking about a simple update of the OS kernel, we are talking about a complete re-think of the product. Keeping up with the legacy is not simple. But it is super-important.
Giorgio Sardo, Microsoft Technical Evangelist, in front of a cocktail-margarita told me: this is a big change, “the same we had during the change from 16bit to 32bit”. That’s true. That’s exciting.
Why? Windows 8 brings to a PC the interface you use on a tablet or a smartphone. You can use one software (app) at a time. The app takes the whole screen. Just forget the window bar. But this is just one half of Windows 8, the “innovative half”. The other one is the canonical: with a click – the same click you use to open an app – you invoke the Desktop and the canonical Windows Explorer. Here you can find windows, the window bar, folders and whatever again. Here you could continue installing and using all the software you used to run on Windows 7. (parolina).
When I explained to my father about the new UI, he was scared: “And what about my desktop?” “Using only one app at a time is bad! They are crazy!” “Fuck!” (he uses PC for business, he develops business software). Then I showed him this video, and at the minute 1.30 he found again the smile and said: very good, now it is good.
Then I heard about a new feature that wants to fight against Google Chrome Os: the possibility to save the OS and your data inside a pen driver. When you insert the pen driver into another PC, your OS will be loaded, populated with your data. So you always can be productive. Surely you can do something like this, using cloud services like Dropbox: from any pc you just log onto your account and find your data in the cloud. That’s good. But a lot of people (surely old power users) are scared of the cloud. So, what can they do for being productive from any pc? Windows 8 offers them a solution.
The whole idea behind Windows 8 rocks, and it rocks because it leaves to the user the power to decide what pc paradigm he wants to use. Apple obliges his costumers to adopt its decisions (and in the last years, users liked so much the decisions). This is a different approach, I prefer the first one. Now it is a question of enacting: we have to see how Microsoft is going to realize everything. In the last times, Microsoft is demonstrating a good, if not excellent, vision, but still it has execution problems. Will this really be the right time?