Microsoft’s official YouTube channel has a new video that features an interview with former Microsoft CEO, Bill Gates. This interview is obviously a promotional piece for the upcoming Windows 8, Windows 8 Phone, Office, and Microsoft Surface. Still, the information shared by Bill Gates speaks to the long-term goals of Microsoft and why exactly the Windows platform is taking such a dramatic step in the direction of touch.
“Microsoft is blending all the different forms of input,” Gates said. He emphasized how the PC of the future will incorporate a number of different input methods to meet a variety of use scenarios. Touch screens, mice, keyboards, speech, the Kinect and even your webcam are seen as potential control interfaces. Windows 8 certainly focuses on a more diverse set of input devices than any version prior.
He went on to state that Windows Phone 8 represents a step towards consistency for the Microsoft family. He said, “It’s evolving literally into a single platform. For the user, it makes it easy to move back and forth.”
Change has always been a pain point for users. It would appear that Microsoft is betting that the long-term benefits to marrying mobile with desktop experiences will make up for the short-term pain points brought on by this dramatic change to its desktop and mobile platforms. Come October 26th, we’ll start to get answers to these concerns as the general market begins to adopt (or refuse to adopt) Windows 8.
Bill Gates, a long-time proponent for the tablet form factor, has been using a Windows RT Surface for some time now. In the past, Microsoft has been only casually dedicated to the tablet market with special versions of its operating system geared toward tablets in addition to software and preferences for tablet applications included with Windows 7. It wasn’t until now, though, that Windows was built from the ground up to support touch interfaces. By bringing a desktop-class operating system to a mobile computing platform such as a tablet, Microsoft is actually going a step beyond previous tablet computing efforts.
The Surface represents, as Steve Ballmer indicated, a new era for Microsoft as hardware and software merge to create a more cohesive user experience. The Surface is the first Windows computer to be designed and supported entirely by Microsoft. It would be reasonable to assume that the Surface would represent the best of what Microsoft can offer. Compatibility issues and poor optimization should (we can hope) not be an issue with the Surface as it could be on devices designed and supported by a third-party OEM.
When all is said and done, we can just sit and wait to see how the general public views Microsoft’s latest attempt to revitalize its lineup of hardware and software.