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New Windows 8 Blog Launches

Windows 8 is primed to be the most radical OS out of Redmond -- ever. Yeah, I know, the switch from Windows 95/98 to Windows 2000 was huge. Going from Windows XP to Vista (sorry, not Windows 7 -- they're more alike under the hood than Microsoft wants to admit) was big, too.

But they will have nothing on Windows 8. It's the first OS that will need to span multiple paradigms: It will need to be a full-featured, rich environment for all the desktop/laptop needs of businesses. On the other hand, it also needs to work on tablets, smartphones, and the emerging mobile world. At least those are the hints Microsoft is throwing out -- it needs to be all things to all people.

Mostly, however, Windows 8 is shrouded in mystery; no one outside the mothership really knows much about it. That's why it's good to see the Building Windows 8 blog. The blog, which new DevDiv head Steven Sinofsky kicked off on Monday, looks to be completely geekified: Sinofsky promises that it will drill down on the "engineering of the product." He also acknowledged the balancing act between keeping its community in the dark vs. talking too much and overpromising:

"We've heard people express frustration over how little we've communicated so far about Windows 8. We've certainly learned lessons over the years about the perils of talking about features before we have a solid understanding of our ability to execute."

Sinofsky also confirmed that the upcoming September BUILD conference -- this year's replacement for the Professional Developer's Conference (PDC) and Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) -- will reveal many details about Windows 8 (although whether any conference details are released beforehand is still anybody's guess).

At the same time, he tried to reassure businesses, users and developers that their investment in Windows 7 won't go to waste:

" ... we're 100% committed to running the software and supporting the hardware that is compatible with over 400 million Windows 7 licenses already sold and all the Windows 7 yet to be sold."

I would think that implies extensive baked-in virtualization; all indications are that Windows 8 will hew more closely to the Windows Phone 7/Metro UI model (although this is just prognostication), which would likely require ditching the Windows 7 model. Windows 7 remains, after all, a desktop/laptop-only OS at its core.

With his frank admission of the anxiety and mystery surrounding Windows 8, and release of a few juicy details, the new blog is off to a strong start. Let's hope it continues to be a valuable resource, and not a marketing/PR faucet.

Posted by Keith Ward on 08/16/2011 at 1:15 PM

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