tom_warren

Microsoft and Windows 8: An Interview with Winrumors.com’s Tom Warren

I’ll start by saying I am a huge fan of Tom Warren.

I love his site and the length and tone of his stories.

For those who don’t know, Tom’s site is winrumors.com.

From the site:

“WinRumors was born in October 2010, a year after Windows 7 general availability. The site provides every piece of interesting Microsoft related news or rumors. Authored by Tom Warren, WinRumors aims to bring you the very latest and greatest Microsoft news every day.”

Definitely a good place to start your daily quest for Microsoft news.

I had an opportunity to pick Tom’s brain about Windows 8.

The following is the transcript.

Onuora: Tom, thanks for doing this interview..let’s see.. how did you get started with blogging and writing about Microsoft products?
Tom: I started at Neowin back when the site first started out. My interest was in the original Whistler beta of Windows XP and subsequent releases.

Onuora: Out of all the features you have come across that might make it into windows 8, which ones do you think are the most exciting?
Tom: I think the most exciting will be the ability to sync settings across multiple machines. The idea of having such a simple function work at the operating system level is great for those using multiple machines.

Onuora: I personally love windows 7, what do you think were the deficiencies if any that windows 7 had? What do you think needed to be addressed in windows 8?
Tom: Windows 7 is great and addresses many of the flaws with Vista but it was an interim improvement. From what we’ve seen with the early leaks of Windows 8, it’s clear the company is returning to the visions of the Longhorn period and I hope we’ll see some powerful improvements in Windows to keep it number 1. The main deficiencies that need serious improvement is Microsoft’s tablet strategy. The company is creating an immersive touch experience especially crafted towards touch and tablet based hardware. I hope Microsoft learns from previous mistakes and creates a killer developer environment and UI.

Onuora: What do you think about the potential for Cloud Computing integration in Windows 8? Where do you think that could go?
Tom: The cloud computing integration is clearly something that Microsoft is playing with in Windows 8. I believe we’ll see the option for individual Windows Store applications to sync their settings into the cloud and be able to roam across multiple machines.

Onuora: Do you think that the Kinect will play a major role in Windows 8?
Tom: I don’t think it will be a major role as the technology is hard to adapt for close range interactivity. We’ll see some type of sensor improvements in Windows 8 using existing technology. Whether we see any full Kinect integration remains to be seen and depends entirely on the hardware being improved for close range use.

Onuora: What’s your take on the amount of time between OS refreshes from Microsoft? Do you think 2012/2013 is about right or early?
Tom: I think 2012 is about right. We won’t see the next-generation of Windows in 2013 that’s for sure. Microsoft has already started hinting at Windows on ARM processors and I fully expect them to tease more information in the coming months prior to its developer conference in September. Windows on ARM is extremely important for Microsoft and Windows for the next 5 years.

Onuora: From an enterprise perspective, what do you think Microsoft need to do with windows 8 to compel weary IT managers and execs to (once again) open up their wallets for an os refresh?
Tom: Well most enterprise level organizations don’t need to open their wallets thanks to Select licensing agreements. However, in terms of adoption I think we’ll see a big uptake of Windows 7 before the enterprise picks up Windows 8.

Onuora: What mistakes do you think Microsoft have to avoid with Windows 8?
Tom: The main mistakes to avoid are over-promising features and under delivering. Microsoft learnt a lot of lessons from Longhorn and they held back information for Windows 7. Windows 8 is a much bigger deal to Microsoft and anything they show needs to be near completion or feature perfect in order to wow any skeptics.

Onuora: What are the top 3 things you would like to see in Windows 8?
Tom: A unique and impressive new UI that is fully interactive and learns what a users habits are. Microsoft has been promising this concept for many years and researching various means to achieve it. I’d like to see that come to life in Windows 8. The second feature I’d like to see is deeper integration between phones and Windows 8. If I get a text message, I’d like to reply from my PC without having to pick up my phone when I am working at my desk. This seamless integration is lacking and that’s something I’d like the industry to address as a whole. The third feature I’d like to see is improved boot times and fast resume. Microsoft has made several improvements in these areas recently but has never fully nailed it.

Onuora: What’s your take on Steven Sinofsky’s project management style?
Tom: Sinofsky’s management style has probably saved the company’s Windows reputation. Windows Vista was a PR disaster despite being a fairly solid product. Sinofsky did wonders for Office and moved into the Windows world during a tricky phase at the company. I applaud him for his work and am looking forward to seeing the complete Windows 8 product.

Onuora: What are some of the most common misconceptions/ignorant comments about Microsoft that piss you off?
Tom: The common thing that’s interesting to read is when people blindly write the company off. A number of bloggers and analysts believe that Microsoft is dead when it comes to smartphones or tablets. Never write Microsoft off. They did well with the Xbox 360 after many doubted them with the original Xbox. They are a slow moving giant but when they strike, you won’t know what’s hit you.

My thanks again to Tom Warren.

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  • Nivekv

    I hope Microsoft includes better multi-screen support in Windows 8! Secondary screens should be automatically activated when plugged in at full resolution. Also, they should require all future games to support multiple screens and super-high custom resolutions.

    As for the rest of it, I’m sure they’ve got everything under control. I just want to make sure they include these features because they are too easy to overlook.