Frameworks

Windows 8 Questions That Need Answers

Microsoft's Build show is just around the corner, and developers need to know the future of Windows 8.

Windows 8 -- as you know, unless you've been suspended, Han Solo-style, in carbonite -- is out at the end of this month. By a less-than-strange coincidence, so is the BUILD conference.

The BUILD conference, you may have heard, sold out in about an hour; you'd have thought it was a U2 concert. (That might be a reference that the under-40 set doesn't get. If so, remember that Google is your friend.) That says to me that developers are intensely interested in what Microsoft will tell them about the future of Windows 8. Here are some questions that need to be answered:

  • Will Windows 8 remain a hybrid OS that tries to appeal to the traditional desktop/laptop crowd and the mobile generation, or will it branch off into distinct OSes, the way Apple has done with OS X and iOS? I think this is the key deliverable from the show. Many of those who love the UI formerly known as Metro (and I'm one of them) don't love the desktop experience of Windows 8. Will Microsoft continue to try and bolt together an OS for two disparate environments?
  • Will Microsoft stick with Windows Phone 8, and not abandon the platform the way it did with Windows Phone 7? This might be an obvious answer, because the idea of Windows 8 is that it's one platform for developers -- if you build it for Windows RT (Windows on ARM), it'll work on a tablet or phone -- but I think Microsoft needs to actually say it, and carry through with it. All those Lumia 900 owners who bought a "cutting-edge" phone that immediately became obsolete would agree.

In other words, you've got your work cut out for you with Windows 8 and BUILD, Mr. Ballmer.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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