This is a little late but probably important to Windows 8 purists.
Rafael Rivera was a little pissed off at the official videos of the D9 conference Windows 8 presentations..
But there was one problem. It wasn’t the raw footage. In fact, the footage was edited in about 20 different spots. Very few of the edits facilitated camera switches; most were during Sinofsky’s replies and the actual Windows 8 demo itself!
What is this, FOX News? While the D9 staffers may claim the edits were to remove fluff, I can’t help but feel a slight malicious vibe here… perhaps to make the interview seem more dull?
For example, one of the edited out segments was of Sinofsky firing back at Mossberg for asking why Microsoft wasn’t a part of the Gang of Four. (Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook in no order.) He replied, “Nothing called the Gang of Four ends well”, inducing a fair bit of audience emotion. Instead the video drones on.
Rafael basically decided to take matters into his own hands and transcribe the entire thing in it’s entireity.
Walt Mossberg> How do you feel about not being in the Gang of Four, that’s running the Internet… running the world?
Steven Sinofsky> You know, I’m watching and am like.. like… I feel like Microsoft is auditioning on the voice and we’re just waiting to get picked… I mean even if the country guy would pick us, I’d be happy.
Walt Mossberg> [laughs]
[note: This is likely where Sinofsky fired back with: “Nothing called Gang of Four ends well”]
There’s just so much going on… and the thing that struck the me most was it’s an interesting group of companies — lots of creative work — but the one thing that gets left out of that kind of discussion is the way that, you know, 90 or 95 percent of the world gets on the Internet in the first place is through Windows.
Walt Mossberg> Haven’t… you have missed a couple of things… your company has missed a couple of things going on right? We’re still not seeing tablets with a, you know, a real tablet gesture/multi-touch optimized OS from you… and [Steven Sinofsky> Sure.] why? Is it because you’re big and bureaucratic or what’s the deal?
Steven Sinofsky> Well, you know, look. There’s always things we’re doing well and always things we’re not doing well. So, you picked two of things we didn’t particularly do well on.
Walt Mossberg> So… you have Windows. Which is still the dominant, by far, computer operating system. And you have Windows Phone 7, which is much newer and the sort of… your entry into the super-smartphone game. How are you going to get to the tablet? The multi-touch tablet?
Steven Sinofsky> What we are doing, and what we’re going to talk about today, is how we’re going to build on the flexibility of Windows. The Windows operating system that’s in PCs today. And extend it to a broader range of user interaction and broader range of platforms, if you will. Or form-factors if you will.
One of the things, for me, that is really striking is just been over the 25 years of Windows that we’ve had, is that the flexibility of not just the Windows product but in a sense the Windows codebase, the Windows approach.  And when you think of the user interface, we’ve built Media Center, we’ve built the pen and ink interface, we’ve built …
Walt Mossberg> The named two that, basically, have failed.
Steven Sinofsky> Well it depends on how you want to measure as success or failure. Certainly they’re all used by lots and lots of people. But I think that once you get into a feature of Windows then any one thing is going to get used by some percentage of the base, not just everything. There are only a couple of things that every person does. But it’s that sum total that is really the flexibility of Windows in the first place.
Walt Mossberg> I understand you’re explaining what you think… Windows is versatile enough to work on, I guess, you’re leading up to saying tablets and other things, but I’ve always been told — I’m not a coder [Steven Sinofsky> Yeah.] by any means, but I’ve always been told that Windows is this gigantic… enormous… thing. With all this legacy stuff you’ve had to keep in there…  Why would you turn to this big, heavy, Windows thing? 
Steven Sinofsky> The thing that’s most fascinating about the evolution of Windows over the past few decades is has been… yeah, it grew up with hardware. So, the hardware companies are busy doubling every 18 months, adding lots of [inaudible word]… and we were doing that with the software part of it as well. And at some point we reached a plateau in terms of we don’t need more of some kinds of resources, and there were other kinds of resources that we needed more. And what happened was we we’re doubling the system requirements for a base level Windows every release, which turned out to be every 3 or 4 years or something.
Walt Mossberg> Yeah, Vista was a really good example.
Steven Sinofsky> What happened with the transition from Windows Vista to Windows 7 was — we looked really hard at this — we just said wow, we can do a bunch of work so we don’t need to change the system requirements for the release.  So we looked at those system requirements and we looked at the ARM processor and what’s available and we look at the Windows codebase and said… well, they’re in sync. We can do this work. We can continue to drive the base system requirements.  When you look at the RAM usage, the number of processes, or the disk footprint, those are all the same as what you see on these current crop of slates.
Walt Mossberg> So full Windows on … [Steven Sinofsky> Full but new Windows] Full new Windows, which is being called…?
Steven Sinofsky> Uh. Well. So, we had this thing about what to call the next release of Windows … so we’re just going to call it a codename, because you know I love codenames. We’re just calling it Windows 8 right now, for the purposes of this. We had this whole debate in Office for many years over what to call the release under development… so we had these big meetings, what should we call it? So we had codenames, you know, should we call it like Firestorm or Deathray…
Walt Mossberg> Your codenames are always better than your product names, at Microsoft.
[note: The video cut was earlier than the audio, to overlay the audience laughing]
Walt Mossberg> It’s not the strategy that’s been followed by… really, your two bigger competitors Google and Apple. In your opinion…
Steven Sinofsky> Well, it’s better because of all the things Windows can bring with it. And all of the… not just the…
Walt Mossberg> Here’s where I have to be snarky and say… you mean viruses and… craplets and all the things people get on their Windows computers.
Steven Sinofsky> Or, printing. Or using solid state storage really well. Or external hard drives or…  What we tried to do with Windows 8 was really reimagine how to work with the PC. [Walt Mossberg> Reall… [edited out]
We have an approach that is different but also builds on the value of 400 million PCs that will probably be sold when the year we release this product. That’s a big number. And what will happen is all of a sudden, all those PCs accrue all the benefits of the work we’re doing.
Walt Mossberg> So both tablets and PCs, laptops, desktops, whatever — All of this work, all this coloring outside the lines, spreads across all those.
Steven Sinofsky> Right. So what we’ve done is we looked from the ground up. Like, how to re-think about how you interact with Windows, the kinds of programs you can run, how you get those programs… all that work and really bring it in a… a word we used a lot in developing it was modern. And how to think about it in a different way that really solves a bunch of the things that people see or say they see are solved in iPad. I think we can do that and bring with it all these benefits that you have…
Walt Mossberg> And every program that runs in desktop Windows will run on [Steven Sinofsky> It’s Windows.] any/all hardware.
Steven Sinofsky> Windows is there and everything that runs on Windows 7, every device you can plug into a Windows machine, everything just runs.
[note: Moss turns 180, putting his back to Sinofsky while he’s speaking, fiddles with a box, then turns 90 degrees towards Sinofsky to stare blankly into the audience.]
Steven Sinofsky> So, doing the demo is Julie Larson Green. Julie is… when you think about how we decide what to put in the product, Julie’s job is to manage the team that picks all the features, writes all the specs, and owns the vision of the product.
Julie Larson-Green> So here it is, on the Lock screen. This is what happens when you come to Windows. That’s my son on there. When you start, you have your own personalized screen. It gives you a little bit of information about what your computer has been doing while you’ve been away. To get into Windows, you just swipe up from the bottom, go into login, and this is Windows. This is where you come after you start Windows. It’s the new Start screen. So no longer do you go to a blank desktop. You come into where all your programs are… a series of Live Tiles that tell you all kinds of information about what’s been going on since the last time you were in here. We’ve also, just, reimagined it for the form factor — the larger screen… be able to take advantage of more space, so the live tiles can tell you a little bit more detail.
The platform has all been redesigned for touch, so all the things… …you’d normally expect for developers to create touch experiences here. So I’m going to swipe in again from the right… bring that back up…
Kara Swisher> What are the other things…
Walt Mossberg> There’s no more Start Button down here… no more Taskbar…
Julie Larson-Green> Um. This is the replacement for the Start Menu. Definitely.
So here I am swiping from the bottom, I can click in, get the on-screen keyboard, it has some familiar things that you’re probably used to from using Windows… if you press the CTRL key, I get the CTRL-X, CTRL-C, CTRL-V kind of shortcuts… I get arrow keys, which is a super nice thing to be able to type and go in… and I also can switch my keyboard to different styles of keyboard. A pen keyboard or the split-scape[?] keyboard. So when you’re using a slate or tablet-like device, it makes it very easy for you to thumb type like you would on phone, and walk around and be mobile while you’re typing.
And also new for Windows 8 is a way for applications … … to present their information. So if I had a photo service, and I wanted to get files and photos from that and put it into my Twitter feed, I could go to my Photo Feedr application and everything that I have access to, or other things my friends have posted, are right here. So instead of leaving my application and going back to another application, I can just do it all in one place.
So I can quickly go back between different things, I can work in my [email protected] app., I can type in Excel, I can go back to another one. So, to say it one more time… this isn’t just for tablet OSes or touch-first devices… It works touch-first, and everything about it works first, and application developers can write their applications for touch… but if it’s a machine with mouse and keyboard, like this one over here, has both touch and mouse/keyboard, it works just the same way. So…
Walt Mossberg> This seems to me, like, the biggest change in the User Interface of Windows I can remember.
Julie Larson-Green> Since Windows 95.
Walt Mossberg> Yeah… that’s right. That’s when it went full… sort of… [Steven Sinofsky> to a desktop metaphor, yeah.]
Walt Mossberg> This is… this is not. You know it doesn’t look anything like the menus and icons and familiar GUI… although you can switch into it. Could somebody who was uncomfortable with this just run in the old house, as Kara said? [Note Kara
Julie Larson-Green> Yes, yes. They could have all their desktop programs in the Start Screen and go then just go to the desktop and never go into …
Kara Swisher> And when is it coming out? For consumer use?
[Larson-Green looks to Sinofsky]
[edit, likely just a camera switch]
Steven Sinofsky> Right now, we’re focused on getting the release done. The milestone for us is the developer conference in September. Look, every two to three years… [Walt Mossberg> But look, it’s 2012.] Every two to three years is a good release.
Walt Mossberg> So, it is pretty radical for you guys, right?
Julie Larson-Green> I think it’s a big change, but not a big change. Because compatibility is still there. So people can have the familiar applications and apps…
Walt Mossberg> It’s pretty radical. People turn that on and it doesn’t look like what they think Windows looks like.
Julie Larson-Green> Right. I would agree with… yeah.
Walt Mossberg> Like I said, if they knew enough about the phone situation they might say: “Oh, this reminds me of Windows Phone.” If they really students of Microsoft UIs, they might even say: “Ah, it has some elements I can trace back in my head to Media Center and Zune and some of the other UI work that the company has done.”
J/Steven Sinofsky> Yup.
Walt Mossberg> But an average person walking into Best Buy and going to look at a Windows laptop is going to be shocked when they look at that… now maybe you will have done a ton of advertising… I’m sure you will have by then… but it’s jolting.
Julie Larson-Green> It’s definitely different… really takes into account the changes that have happened in the industry and all the technologies. And while we showed just the user interface here, all of Windows… every subsystem of Windows has been re-imagined to be “modern”, I think is the word Stephen used earlier.
To really re-think our assumptions and re-think what customers are trying to do today and really bring that to the device front and center.  [loud outro]
Onuora Amobi is the Founder and VP of Digital Marketing at Learn About The Web Inc. Onuora has more than a decade of information security, project management and management consulting experience. He has specialized in the management and deployment of large scale ERP client/server systems.
In addition to being a former Microsoft MVP and the founder and editor of EyeOnWindows.com, he is the CEO of a Pasadena based online marketing education startup - Learn About The Web Inc. (www.learnabouttheweb.com).