Windows 8 launch: Microsoft makes the case for the PC

Windows 8 launch: Microsoft makes the case for the PC

Summary: The Windows 8 launch today put to rest rumors that Microsoft is running away from the PC. Instead the company made the case that Windows 8 is the foundation for the "best PCs ever made"--ones designed to work as both laptops and tablets, and for both work and play.

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TOPICS: Windows
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Windows 8 Launch

The Windows 8 launch today seemed designed to put to rest any rumors that Microsoft is running away from the PC. Instead a parade of executives made the case that Windows 8 is the foundation for the "best PCs ever made"--ones designed to work as both laptops and tablets, and for both work and play.

The purpose of the event was really to launch several products. New Windows 8 devices and software upgrades go on sale at 12:01 am local time tomorrow. The Windows Store--the app store, not the Microsoft retail stores--is also officially open for business. And Microsoft and its hardware partners will also begin selling Windows RT devices at the same time.

CEO Steve Ballmer said that there were 670 million existing Windows 7 PCs "just waiting to be upgraded" and he cited estimates that another 400 million Windows 8 PCs will be sold each year. And Steve Sinfosky, the head of the Windows and Windows Live group, said the Windows Store has more apps than any existing app store had at launch (though he did not mention the company's stated goal of 10,000 apps at launch).

There were few surprises at the launch, which was streamed live. Most of the features of Windows 8, and the apps and services that are currently available, are well-known at this point. I was surprised that the company didn't announce any additional big-names apps coming to the Windows Store--perhaps that is coming over the next few days--and I expected to hear more details on new services such as Xbox Music. Instead Microsoft execs largely focused on new Windows 8 convertibles, laptops and desktops from their partners (they'll apparently be talking about Microsoft's own Surface hardware in a later session).

Sinofsky talked about some of the key improvements in Windows 8 including longer battery life, faster boot times, a smaller memory footprint, and compatibility with existing Windows apps. He said that around 1,000 new PC designs have already been certified for Windows 8. He also talked a bit about Windows RT, noting that while it doesn’t run legacy Windows apps, the experience and Windows 8-style apps will get better over time through Windows Store updates and it already supports some 420 million hardware peripherals. That's a competitive advantage over IOS and Android tablets.

Mike Angiulo, who is in charge of hardware and the PC ecosystem, and Julie Larson-Green, the Vice President of Program Management for Windows, demonstrated some of the basic features of Windows 8 and showed off several Windows 8 PCs including laptops (Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon and the Acer Aspire S7-191), tablets and convertibles (the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 and Dell XPS 12) and all-in-ones (the Dell XPS One and Sony VAIO Tap 20). Angiulo said Windows 8 PCs with touchscreens will start at $499. The pair also highlighted several Windows RT tablets from tablets Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, and of course Microsoft.

Ballmer gave the big picture on Windows 8. He said that, for the first time, Windows has "first-rate tablets," in addition to desktops and laptops adding that touch "pushes the boundaries of what a PC really is." He talked about the content and services that Microsoft is developing around these devices including a new version of Office; Internet Explorer 10; the Bing Apps (News, Finance, Travel, Maps, Weather and Sports); SkyDrive; Skype; and the Xbox music, video and games. Finally, he talked about how these Windows 8 services will work with smartphones running Windows Phone 8, which the company is set to announce on Monday (October 29).

Topic: Windows

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64 comments
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  • A more objective view?

    http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/10/windows-reimagined-a-review-of-windows-8/5/

    Not entirely flattering
    D.T.Long
    • Or less objective?

      No big deal -I've seen less then flattering Appe and Android reviews. All that says is you can't please everyone all of the time.

      The important thing is that the majority of people are happpy with it, and that's all that counts.
      William Farrel
      • Exactly right

        I found a review once that stated the product it reviewed was perfect. Let me see if I can find it again.

        Huh, nope, nowhere to be found. Oh well.

        I know that I'll be upgrading to Windows 8 the moment it comes out. This is easily the most exciting OS update since Windows 7. Nothing Linux or Apple has put out has come close.
        toddbottom3
        • same here

          I'll be downloading my Win 8 upgrade this evening! Not every product will make a person sing sweet music. Apple has yet to release a single product that makes me sing. My Surface will be delivered to my house today and between that, my Thinkpad and Windows Phone i'm set.
          Rob.sharp
          • Congrats but...

            Congrats but you still can't do something as simple as track all your devices with a single application or message people with like devices... Enjoy you're Zune 2.0
            mmmmpsi
          • also a hacker cannot break remote wipe all my devices

            Some things I don't care about.

            Oh and built in Skype will send messages and make calls to anyone with Skype

            From win8/7 Xbox and Facebook. When to android and is.

            Can we use crapples messanger or do you need to strong arm someone into using your product so they can talk to you.
            DeathDealer35
          • ......

            Windows 8 sucks the zune was the best music player there was. it completely owned the ipo in style usability and straight out ability but microsoft did not advertise it at all. Im a microsoft guy from long back but windows 8 has made me feel microsoft is way out of touch with its consumer base and with Steve Ballmer running this company in the ground no longer have much hope for it. I love my android phones and tablets and if windows 8 is the direction microsoft wants to go then linux and Ubuntu will get more time as will win 7 for the next decade.
            Fletchguy
      • True, overall positive

        The haters obviously are trying to spin it negative, which is understandable.

        The objective folks seem to like the bold move, features and differentiation

        The fan folks, just loving it and waiting to get their hands on it
        ninjacut
        • ....

          Im a microsoft fan all the way back to windows dos but windows 8 just blows and its for the kids. It sucks at production and the ui is god awful. No it does not have the classic desktop it has a desktop version. The side swipe is annoying and the metro tiles just make it a must pass.
          Fletchguy
      • Perhaps a bit of an overstatement

        "important thing is that the majority of people are happpy with it"
        Astringent
        • So who cares who doesn't like it ?????

          If you like it, buy it. If not.. just go away and stop niggling us. I want to ex[plore my options with win 8 and surface. I love touch screen but I love mouse and keyboard too. Win 8 promises me that and I'm looking forward to the new dawn!

          ps I have ipad2, iphone4, Asus Transformer, HTC desire, Blackberry Torch. All have good points and all have bad points. I dont use the 4 as much as I could to be honest as the other two phones suit me. My point is I buy what works for me without sticking to one brand like half the 'sheep' posting here will.
          johnmckay
    • As usual Microsoft doesn't understand Keeping Things Simple

      You've hit the nail on the head plus Windows 8 touch interface is useless to those of us who sit two to three feet away from our monitors. Microsoft keeps going for the complex, apparently because they've never heard of the KISS principle - Keep It Simple Stupid. Plus after years of Windows versions requiring three clicks to shutdown, Windows 7 went to a very welcome two clicks - 8 returns to three clicks. Somehow I think the execs are telling the programers how to do their job and are making a mess of things.
      shanedr
      • Simple

        See there is problem with Simple! Simple also means Fewer functions and that means in the business world the inability to get work done! What MS has done here is combine the two worlds to one. As an IT manager that is what I need right now for my users! With an iPad I can't do that. I can't run Office, I can't push Apps, I can't control them! With Windows 8 I have the best of both worlds!!!!!
        mrgeek33
      • As usual Microsoft doesn't understand ...

        Who powers pown their PC...
        ron.harding@...
      • Yeah I'm knackered with that constant clicking too.

        Wow who's nit-picking here. Do I care if it's two clicks or three? Am I the only guy in the world to press shutdown when I meant 'swirch user' and had to reboot? Come on - get a life :-)
        johnmckay
      • Read a Book

        All my windows computers, including the one using Win 8, either shut down or reboot using a single click on a shortcut I put in the task bar. For Win 8 I have 2 tiles to do the task. Really simple to learn, all you have to know how to do is READ !!!
        svfiat
      • 3 Clicks?

        Please tell me how. I like Windows 8 but shutting down is like an afterthought. Move cursor to bottom right of screen, wait 1 sec, click settings, click power, click shutdown. Terrible!
        paul.graville@...
    • Not entiely flattering is a little misleading.

      Usually when one says "Not entirely flattering" its said with just enough sarcasm to make it plain that what the person saying it really means is not that the thing is being 'very well flattered, but not entierly flattered', but instead that the thing being spoke of is actually being criticized to some significant degree as opposed to much flattering at all.

      And its because of that understanding of "Not entirely flattering" that your statement is misleading about the aforementioned review of Windows 8.

      The article is relatively positive, and many of the negatives mentioned always seem to get spoken of in terms that "everyone will feel just as badly about this aspect of Windows 8 as I do", and that is and will usually always be a poor way of reviewing almost anything. The reason its so poor is because not everyone feels the same way about positive or negative things that one person or another finds within any particular thing. A proper review should identify where the positive and weak points in something are in the reviewers mind and then the reviewer needs to identify why it is that 'someone much like him/her' would be likely to feel the same.

      For example, saying 'This kind of chocolate is too sweet and is not going to appeal to people very much' is poor work. Saying "I find this chocolate too sweet and for people like myself who prefer a less sweet darker chocolate, they are not so likely to like this brand much' is not only more informative, its actually far more accurate because we know there will be thousands at home pounding down the sweet chocolate wondering what planet this hopeless chocolate reviewer was born on.

      But lets look at some of the interesting things said:
      “The desktop counterparts are still present (Windows Media Player and Photo Viewer), and for desktop users these make much better defaults. This only has to be changed once, so it's not a disaster. Just an annoyance.”
      “Microsoft's validation processes. I'm not a fan of this approach when Apple does it, and I'm not a fan when Microsoft does it.”
      “The new interface makes some things worse. It also makes some things better.”
      “But Windows 8 works. It's one operating system that can support tablet and desktop apps side-by-side. And that might just be worth a little compromise.”
      Any realistic look at the review in question clearly shows that there are points the author makes where he felt there were some shortcomings. Just the same any realistic look at this very same review shows the author find plenty of good things to say, and that in fact many of the things found to be reaching the level of “annoyance” are likely to just be an annoyance for people who are just like him and not even so bad they would clearly annoy any person. For example, I don’t know anyone who gets at all annoyed by setting their default programs…just once. And that’s the problem with reviews that say “I didn’t like this very much so you wont either”.
      Cayble
  • A more objective view?

    I watched the stream of the presentations. It was very flattering. Saw glimpse of what Win 8 and Surface are capable of doing. The presentations were done projected using Surface RT. Saw RT using the USB port to connect to SLR camera for a Harvard student blog posting Live at the presentation. Saw the use of front and back camera used as recording devices live with very clear pictures. The Surface is used to control the lighting of the presentation room. The surface was dropped on stage and no issues, He did live multi-tasking. I am mentioning these because few web sites reporters have praised the hardware and slammed the software and some of their complaints were what this guy demonstrated live and he gave those surface away changing them for every demonstration to show they were not doctored for his presentation.
    Alfred Soyemi
  • What I found interesting

    Before I get to that I could only read ½ the article linked to by DTLong, There were too many inaccurate statements and poking at non-issues for the sake of poking.

    What I noted over and over in the press conference was the reference to Windows RT Tablets as a “PC”. I am a fan of the Windows 8 OS, having tested copies since the first preview, and not using a touch screen most of that time, but the reference to an RT as a PC is unsettling and I think will serve to confuse consumers, an RT will not run “PC Applications” if a “PC application” is defined as a program running on an intel based CPU. When someone says to you ‘you need the PC Application’ one thinks ‘not tablet’. Either I have to change or they do, either way I think the blurring will happen at some point I just don’t think the time is now.
    pllamonica@...