Windows 8 unveiled with a focus on Metro

Mike Halsey MVP
Sep 13, 2011
Updated • Sep 14, 2011
Microsoft, Windows 8

Windows chief Steven Sinofsky unveiled Windows 8, well some of it anyway, to the world today and put most of the focus on touch and the new Metro interface that we've seen previously.  He made a point of saying that there are 'hundreds' of new features in Windows 8 and we'll find out about them either as they're found by people who download the developer preview, and then reported online, or blogged about directly by Microsoft.

Today's keynote however was all about Metro and selling Windows 8 tablets to the world.  It was a keynote at a developer show so there was a large focus on developing Metro apps for Windows 8.  Now these apps will only run on Windows 8 and will be designed for the new tablet UI, so we can assume that they'll only ever be used by a finite number of actual Windows users.  Sinofsky said there would be 400 million users of Windows 8 in short order but how many of these will want to use the traditional desktop as their main OS interface?

Of course the stance taken by Microsoft today is completely understandable for the following reasons.  When Windows 8 launches the company needs to have achieved the following two things.  They need to make a big splash in the tablet market and they need a critical mass of Metro apps available at launch as, unlike Windows of old, tablet Windows 8 will live or die on the quantity of apps available.

So the company kicked their BUILD conference off in bold style with a Metro extravaganza.  There's a great deal more to Windows 8 though and business users shouldn't at this point be concerned.  What Microsoft did today is no different than launching Windows embedded and touting Media Centre for a new set-top-box market when most people will run it on thin clients.  Tablets and mobile computing is a market that Microsoft must go after aggressively and right off the bat.

So what about everyone else?  Do we need to be concerned that our Windows of old is gone?  Well in some ways, most notably the removal of the Start Menu, it is gone and that has to be faced realistically.  Other changes to the interface will impact on businesses and professional users as well, and some people who just don't want an interface of two-inch high icons on their big desktop screen but this is just Microsoft's focus for the moment.

In the coming weeks we'll hear many more details about Windows 8, indeed there will now be a steady stream of feature blog posts.  Here the company will detail support for legacy apps, virtualisation, Windows Server integration and more.  For buusiness and professional users the traditional way of working with Windows will still be there, it's not going anywhere for years to come, so you don't need to worry about retraining staff, expensive software rewrites, using a perhaps unsuitable interface or skipping Windows 8 completely.

So why am I saying this?  Well it's certainly not because Microsoft have asked me to.  As with all beta products, and remember Windows 8 won't go on sale for over a year, which is a lot of development time, much will change.  What we see in the Developer Preview will change organically over the coming months.  Some features will be added and some will be dropped completely.  Other features will change radically or organically.

It's important to remember that during Microsoft's surprisingly open development process, not only that what we have now is by far from a finished product but that there is much more to Windows 8 than just a funky new interface that Microsoft need to plug.  I'll be downloading the developer preview myself and will report back here on what moving to Windows 8 will really mean for the average IT user, it's what I'm here for after all.  Tonight though I can't help but thinking it would be fascinating to be a fly on the wall at Google and Apple today.


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  1. Some Dude said on March 19, 2023 at 11:42 am

    Are these articles AI generated?

    Now the duplicates are more obvious.

    1. boris said on March 19, 2023 at 11:48 pm

      This is below AI generated crap. It is copy of Microsoft Help website article without any relevant supporting text. Anyway you can find this information on many pages.

  2. Paul(us) said on March 20, 2023 at 1:32 am

    Yes, but why post the exact same article under a different title twice on the same day (19 march 2023), by two different writers?
    1.) Excel Keyboard Shortcuts by Trevor Monteiro.
    2.) 70+ Excel Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows by Priyanka Monteiro

    Why oh why?

    1. Clairvaux said on September 6, 2023 at 11:30 am

      Yeah. Tell me more about “Priyanka Monteiro”. I’m dying to know. Indian-Portuguese bot ?

  3. John G. said on August 18, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    Probably they will announce that the taskbar will be placed at top, right or left, at your will.

    Special event by they is a special crap for us.

  4. yanta said on August 18, 2023 at 11:59 pm

    If it’s Microsoft, don’t buy it.
    Better brands at better prices elsewhere.

  5. John G. said on August 20, 2023 at 4:22 am

    All new articles have zero count comments. :S

  6. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 7:48 am

    WTF? So, If I add one photo to 5 albums, will it count 5x on my storage?
    It does not make any sense… on google photos, we can add photo to multiple albums, and it does not generate any additional space usage

    I have O365 until end of this year, mostly for onedrive and probably will jump into google one

  7. St Albans Digital Printing Inc said on September 5, 2023 at 11:53 am

    Photo storage must be kept free because customers chose gadgets just for photos and photos only.

  8. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    What a nonsense. Does it mean that albums are de facto folders with copies of our pictures?

    1. GG said on September 6, 2023 at 8:24 am

      Sounds exactly like the poor coding Microsoft is known for in non-critical areas i.e. non Windows Core/Office Core.

      I imagine a manager gave an employee the task to create the album feature with hardly any time so they just copied the folder feature with some cosmetic changes.

      And now that they discovered what poor management results in do they go back and do the album feature properly?

      Nope, just charge the customer twice.

      Sounds like a go-getter that needs to be promoted for increasing sales and managing underlings “efficiently”, said the next layer of middle management.

  9. d3x said on September 5, 2023 at 7:33 pm

    When will those comments get fixed? Was every editor here replaced by AI and no one even works on this site?

  10. Scroogled said on September 5, 2023 at 10:47 pm

    Instead of a software company, Microsoft is now a fraud company.

  11. ard said on September 7, 2023 at 4:59 pm

    For me this is proof that Microsoft has a back-door option into all accounts in their cloud.
    quote “…… as the MSA key allowed the hacker group access to virtually any cloud account at Microsoft…..”

    so this MSA key which is available to MS officers can give access to all accounts in MS cloud.This is the backdoor that MS has into the cloud accounts. Lucky I never got any relevant files of mine in their (MS) cloud.

  12. Andy Prough said on September 7, 2023 at 6:52 pm

    >”Now You: what is your theory?”

    That someone handed an employee a briefcase full of cash and the employee allowed them access to all their accounts and systems.

    Anything that requires 5-10 different coincidences to happen is highly unlikely. Occam’s razor.

  13. TelV said on September 8, 2023 at 12:04 pm

    Good reason to never login to your precious machine with a Microsoft a/c a.k.a. as the cloud.

  14. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    The GAFAM are always very careless about our software automatically sending to them telemetry and crash dumps in our backs. It’s a reminder not to send them anything when it’s possible to opt out, and not to opt in, considering what they may contain. And there is irony in this carelessness biting them back, even if in that case they show that they are much more cautious when it’s their own data that is at stake.

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