Microsoft has launched a blog detailing developments behind Windows 8. This is surely just the first part of a massive marketing campaign.
Microsoft's ramp-up to Windows 8 is beginning in earnest.
In the quarters leading to the release of Windows 7,
Microsoft devoted reams of digital ink to discussing not only the features, but
also the development philosophy undergirding the operating system. Whether or
not that contributed in any meaningful way to Windows 7's eventual success
(pent-up demand after nearly a decade of Windows XP might have been more of a
factor), Microsoft seems ready to employ that strategy again with Windows 8.
To that end, the company is kicking off a "Building Windows
8" blog, with regular postings devoted to the development of the
next-generation operating system. Various Microsoft employees will almost
certainly use the space to defend some of the more radical decisions associated
with the new interface, including the abandonment of the "traditional" Windows
desktop model in favor of colorful, Windows Phone-style tiles.
In the two months since its Windows 8 preview in June,
Microsoft has defended this about-face in its user-interface as the best
possible way for Windows to operate on both PCs and tablets. Certainly a
touch-ready UI would allow Microsoft to compete in the burgeoning tablet market,
currently dominated by Apple's iPad.
"So much has changed since Windows 95-the last time Windows
was significantly overhauled-when the -desktop' metaphor was established," Steven
Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live division, wrote in the
inaugural Aug. 15 posting
. "Today, more than two out of three PCs are
mobile (laptops, netbooks, notebooks, tablets, slates, convertibles, etc.).
Nearly every PC is capable of wireless connectivity."
Microsoft plans on revealing more about Windows 8 at its
BUILD conference in September. "In the next weeks we will just start talking
specifics of features, since there is no obvious place to start given the
varying perspectives," he wrote. "From fundamentals, to user interface, to
hardware support, and more, if something is important to you, we promise we'll
get to it in some form or another."
Even with its newfound focus on mobile form-factors such as
tablets, Windows 8 faces at least one substantial obstacle to widespread
adoption: Windows 7, which has sold hundreds of millions of copies since its
October 2009 debut. In a recent research note, Gartner predicted Windows 7's
presence on 42 percent of PCs by the end of 2011-helping finally topple Windows
XP, that aging but solid warhorse of many a company's IT infrastructure, from
its longtime spot as the world's dominant operating system. Will consumers and
businesses, having been pushed by Microsoft to adopt Windows 7, rush out for
the Windows 8 upgrade?
That remains a crucial question for Microsoft to answer in
the affirmative. As Windows 8's reported 2012 release date approaches, the
company will doubtlessly pour hundreds of millions of dollars into its
marketing efforts. This new blog is just the beginning.
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