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Bill Gates Talks Windows Future, Touch Interfaces

timothy posted about a year ago | from the objective-stance dept.

Microsoft 198

Nerval's Lobster writes "In a YouTube interview released by Microsoft, co-founder Bill Gates offered a few hints of where Microsoft plans on taking Windows in coming years. 'It's evolving literally to be a single platform,' he said, referring to how Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 share a kernel, file system, graphics support, and other elements. At least in theory, that will allow developers to port apps from the desktop/tablet OS to the smartphone OS with relatively little work. The two operating systems already share the same design aesthetic, with Start screens composed of colorful tiles linked to applications. Gates also praised natural user interfaces — which include touch and voice — while taking a subtle dig at Apple's iPad and other tablets on the market. 'People want to consume their mail, reading, video anywhere, and they want it to be awfully simple,' he said. 'But you want to incorporate touch without giving up the kind of mouse, keyboard capability that's just so natural in most settings.'"

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Like Apple? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740113)

So their roadmap is to make Windows like OS-X? Wow. Totally innovative. You go girl.

Re:Like Apple? (1, Flamebait)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#41740171)

MS has been doing mobile devices since the late 1990's trying to make a unified OS.

apple got lucky with the price of mobile components dropping to reasonable levels and the fact that samsung and others started to make touch screens

Re:Like Apple? (3, Insightful)

JiveDog (871841) | about a year ago | (#41740299)

apple got lucky with the price of mobile components dropping to reasonable levels...

yeah, they just "stumbled" into being the most profitable company in the world. it's their manufacturing capabilities and their supply chain logistics that make this happen. there's absolutely no luck involved in this.

Re:Like Apple? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740377)

A combination of luck and skill. Having the nous to take advantage of the luck.

The same can be said for any company which makes it huge, it's never entirely down to skill.

Re:Like Apple? (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#41740741)

There is always Luck involved in success. A good business will try to minimize how much luck is involved but it is there.

Apple got Lucky in a couple areas.
1. The Fruity iMacs were popular enough to get media attention. Which allowed for more buzz after job releases new products. These iMacs could have been seen as a cheap rip off and too insulting to the end user to buy.

2. The iPod was really popular. It could had just as easily been just an apple fan boy toy. While other markets expanded.

3. Failure of the iPod Killer. Microsoft, Sony, Ad-Lib... A bunch of big names tried to get to a strong spot even a close #2.

4. People hated Microsoft. Viruses were crippling home PC's. People started to switch to Firefox. A lot of people were going, my Next PC will be a Mac.

A lot of other things could have gone wrong. And hurt apple.

Re:Like Apple? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41741095)

A lot of other things could have gone wrong. And hurt apple.

Yes, but you forgot one important thing: If anything went wrong, that would've invalidated iScripture, which is impossible owing to it being infallible. You unenlightened types keep forgetting these minor important things. I can't imagine how; it's all there to read at your iChurch of choice.

Re:Like Apple? (1)

thmsdrew (2608605) | about a year ago | (#41741893)

#1 and #2 aren't luck. They're just the way things happened. "Could haves" don't imply luck at all.

Re:Like Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740785)

Apple until they recently have tried to get involved in fabbing their own mobile chips does not manufacture their own shit QED.

Re:Like Apple? (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about a year ago | (#41741345)

Actually it was because Jobs was a marketing genius. (Yes I've owned some of their products) Never understood their popularity. IMHO, mediocre products at ridiculous prices. But his sales pitches were brilliant. We'll just have to wait and see how they'll get along without him. Personally I wouldn't buy stock in the company now.

Re:Like Apple? (5, Insightful)

gmack (197796) | about a year ago | (#41740335)

Nothing to do with Luck. Microsoft's mistake was assuming people wanted a desktop experience on a device too small for it to be effective. They have now come to their senses and come up with a good cell phone experience but now want to do the opposite and inflict a mobile interface on their desktop users.

As for Apple: The core kernel may be similar but their interfaces are completely different between desktop and mobile.

Re:Like Apple? (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about a year ago | (#41740991)

Also attributing it to luck doesn't really make sense since Apple had been planning the device for years, and only released it when the components had become cheap enough to sell the device at what they believed to be a reasonable price point. Also, cheaper components and better touch screens are insufficient to explain where the iPhone came from. Why is it that Apple was first to market with a device like the iPhone, and it took other manufacturers years to catch up?

The iPhone was not obvious. When it was first demoed, people responded in one of two ways: (a) "Holy shit, that's some amazing sci-fi tech right there and I want one,"; and (b) "No physical keyboard, less Exchange support than a Blackberry. Lame."

Re:Like Apple? (1)

Tyler Durden (136036) | about a year ago | (#41740447)

apple got lucky with the price of mobile components dropping to reasonable levels and the fact that samsung and others started to make touch screens

Dropping mobile component prices would be advantageous to anyone involved in the mobile market. Touch screen technology could have been used by MS as well, but wasn't. Why did it turn out just to be "lucky" for Apple?

Re:Like Apple? (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#41740557)

Why did it turn out just to be "lucky" for Apple?

Lucky because Apple HR got the right "Steve" and Microsoft pickup up the wrong one. 50:50 chance.

A near thing, you realize.

Re:Like Apple? (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year ago | (#41741489)

It was lucky for Apple because they also had a vision. Or to put it another way, it didn't matter how cheap touch screens and mobiles got because Microsoft was too busy trying to stick a full blown crap OS on mobile and everyone else was making a different OS for each damn model of phone that came out. Before Apple, there was a pretty good chance whatever touch screen device you had was a dead end of some type and the manufacture wouldn't continue to put out updates for very long, or the next version could be completely different.

Vision. Apple had it, now MS is copying it.

Re:Like Apple? (1, Troll)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year ago | (#41740891)

MS has been doing mobile devices since the late 1990's trying to make a unified OS.

Yes and those Windows CE PDAs and WinPhones kinda sucked. Microsoft tried to do too much with the limited power of the embedded processors of that time. The low resolution screens made the window UI practically useless, but Microsoft refused to abandon it on the phones. Palm was a better PDA and Handsprings Phone/PDA had a much better user experience than the slow clunky Microsoft CE devices.

Microsoft was myopic with their "Windows Everywhere" ambitions. They still seem stuck in that mode. It just took 20 years for the hardware to finally be powerful enough to support Microsoft's goals.

apple got lucky with the price of mobile components dropping to reasonable levels and the fact that samsung and others started to make touch screens

You make your own luck and Apple put a lot of planning and risk entering the mobile device market. If you browse through their patent portfolio you'd see that they been working on the iPad for years before it was finally released to the public. The iPad had to take a back seat to the development of the iPhone. Apple had to engineer the battery life, display performance, and took a gigantic leap of faith when they decided how they will enter the wireless market (No other computer company has pulled it off). There was a "controversy" over Apple abandoning the traditional Window UI for an exclusively full screen application design. The lessons learned over the demise of the Apple Newton was behind all this attention to detail. Remember Apple was still a niched company and this was a HUGE risk for Steve Jobs.

Sure today the media falls over themselves to praise Apple and follow their every move. I think is to make up for them discounting the significance of Apple's release of the original iPhone, played up how Apple was risking too much by taking on entrenched phone manufactures and the large peanut gallery of pundits that announced the death of Apple.

Their poor forecast embarrassed them so now I think they preemptively are positive toward Apple (and Google, Microsoft, others) because they learned it looks better to praise a new technology/product/upstart and allow it to fail on its own and write articles investigating the reasons than it is to be skeptical and then eat crow when the company succeeds.

When everyone think about the good old days, they forgot about all the crap they went through to get to where they are today.

Re:Like Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41741195)

Last night I looked through your mom's window, touched my interface and squirted my future on the wall.

Re:Like Apple? (3, Interesting)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#41740189)

and steve jobs correctly predicted that computers will go the way cars did back in the early 1900's. from what were essentially open parts to a fully vertical system where one company either makes most of the components or designs and manufactures the whole product.

MS's problem was that the OEM's never tried to put out a decent product

Re:Like Apple? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#41740451)

Twenty years ago most computers other than PCs were 'fully vertical systems where one company either makes most of the components or designs and manufactures the whole product'. So that's not much of a prediction.

Of course we then decided it was a bad idea because the more open PC was much cheaper than a Unix workstation built by a company with no competition other than different and incompatible Unix workstations. Took the best part of a generation for the wheel to turn back.

Re:Like Apple? (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#41740671)

and steve jobs correctly predicted that computers will go the way cars did back in the early 1900's

That wasn't a prediction, that was his business plan.

Re:Like Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41742047)

"correctly predicted?" Your timestamp says you posted this October 23rd, but it doesn't give a year. Are you from 2012, or some later year? Because back here, in 2012, computers can be assembled from parts made from many different manufacturers. If you are, indeed from the future, please send back something more interesting about the future, which might perhaps make everyone's life better (like, were there some terrible natural disasters we could prepare for?).

Thanks,
2012

Re:Like Apple? (4, Insightful)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year ago | (#41740381)

Open letter to M$... It's clear you're trying to copy Apple's success in the tablet/smartphone world by creating so-called unified interface for both them and desktops. But if Apple is such a clear leader and their vision for the future is so good, then why doesn't OSX look like iOS?

Re:Like Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740631)

i think you just nullified your premise "why doesn't OSX look like iOS?". If MS was just copying apple Windows, Surface, and Windows Mobile would not look or have similar interfaces. maybe Microsoft is trying to lead and dare I say on slashdot, innovate?

Re:Like Apple? (1, Insightful)

na1led (1030470) | about a year ago | (#41740651)

Because unlike M$, Apple borrowed code from the open source community (Linux) to make their OSX. Apple never invented anything, they just took what they saw was available and used it in a better way.

Re:Like Apple? (4, Informative)

doti (966971) | about a year ago | (#41740901)

apple borrowed from bsd, not linux

Re:Like Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41741269)

You just got trolled

Re:Like Apple? (4, Interesting)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about a year ago | (#41741447)

Apple borrowing from BSD was a brilliant move. OS9 (the predecessor to OSX) was absolutely horrible. Slow, prone to crashing, and it ran on PowerPC chips that were far slower than Intel chips. When Apple brought Jobs back it was partly because of the operating system that NeXT had developed that was based on BSD. It evolved into what is now OSX.

Apple did not invent BSD or Linux or UNIX but what they did do was take a very stable, open source, version of UNIX (BSD) and put a beautifully appealing graphical front end on it (AQUA). I would argue that OSX is the most user friendly version of any UNIX or Linux based kernel. It's very stable, it's easy to use and it looks nice. I would bet that a lot of Mac users don't even know, or care, that it's based on UNIX. They just know that it works and is enjoyable to use.

Apple hasn't invented a lot of things but they have taken what others have done and made it better. That's innovation. In the same way that Android looks and works very much like IOS. In the same way that nearly every modern smartphone uses a touch interface. Apple didn't invent the touch interface either, they just perfected it. Some people think that Microsoft "stole" the GUI from Apple, who in turn "stole" it from XEROX. Who knows?

In my view, none of that stuff is stealing. It's simply the industry realizing that there is a better way to do things and then everyone embraces it. Balmer and Gates have seen the writing on the wall. PC sales are down drastically. For many people, particularly in developing countries, a smartphone is their first and only internet enabled device. That's where the growth is. So Windows is going to have to evolve if it wants to stay relevant in the consumer space. Time will tell how successful it is.

Re:Like Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41741585)

None of the GUI is borrowed from FOSS. This article is about UI, not kernels. And as others point out, BSD != Linux. Try harder.

Re:Like Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740881)

mmm, Apple is a leader . .right. Just like Rolls Royce is leading the automobile industry.

Re:Like Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740983)

Open letter to M$... It's clear you're trying to copy Apple's success in the tablet/smartphone world by creating so-called unified interface for both them and desktops. But if Apple is such a clear leader and their vision for the future is so good, then why doesn't OSX look like iOS?

Obviously what the system presents on its display represents exactly what is under the 'hood.'

Why does OSX look like iOS when I ssh to their respective devices?

Re:Like Apple? (1, Funny)

SiChemist (575005) | about a year ago | (#41740987)

So their roadmap is to make Windows like Linux? Wow. Totally innovative. You go girl.

One or the other (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740119)

If you try to "incorporate touch without giving up the kind of mouse, keyboard capability that's just so natural in most settings.", you end up with Windows 8, Unity, and others I don't even want to know about. Keep touch interfaces out of my desktop, please.

Re:One or the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740165)

The end product is...a crystal ball.

Re:One or the other (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year ago | (#41740183)

I'm already pressing buttons on a screen that isn't a touch screen. some actions are more natural with touch screen.

Re:One or the other (5, Insightful)

flirno (945854) | about a year ago | (#41740217)

Some. Not all.

Touch is great for accessing and consuming content.

Touch is currently horrendous for producing or modifying content.

These are not yet 'unified' avenues of usage as yet.

Re:One or the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740379)

Best commentary Ive hear in a long time....

Re:One or the other (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740429)

Touch is also heavily dependent on the distance between user and monitor.

Basically, if you have to move your shoulder *at all* to reach the display, that repetitive motion will get very tiresome very quickly.

Tablet/phone: Touch works great.

Laptop with keyboard: Touch is just so-so. Even with the notebook right on your lap, you have to move your shoulder a bit to reach it. If it's on a desktop in front of you, it gets worse.

Workstation with large monitor: Touch is horrible. I don't want to move my 30" monitor any closer to me, and I don't want to reach way out to it.

Re:One or the other (4, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#41740527)

Workstation with large monitor: Touch is horrible. I don't want to move my 30" monitor any closer to me, and I don't want to reach way out to it.

Lay the monitor almost flat on the table. It would feel like drawing with pencil and paper. Upright is fine if it's mounted on the wall, and you're standing in front of it, like they they show in the movies

Re:One or the other (2)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#41740589)

Lay the monitor almost flat on the table.

Yeah, hunching over the screen all day will be a really comfortable way to work.

Re:One or the other (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#41740981)

Have you ever used a drawing table, sitting or standing? They're not so uncomfortable.

Re:One or the other (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#41742045)

Not to mention the awful vertical angle for which screens are not built. In order for the vertical angle to be bearable, you will have to shove the monitor halfway into your belly, if you're thin. If you're even remotely fat, well, shove it with more force. Yay.

Re:One or the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740683)

> Lay the monitor almost flat on the table. It would feel like drawing with pencil and paper.

Then you have to hunch over it. Doing that for hours a day will ruin your upper back posture.

If leaning over your monitor were a comfortable position, why are *no* monitors on the market currently capable of being positioned that way? Every single one of them, for years running, is made to stand vertically and align with your vision. It's such an important ergonomic issue that both the iPad 3 and the Surface have built-in mechanisms for standing nearly vertically.

> Upright is fine if it's mounted on the wall, and you're standing in front of it, like they they show in the movies

Sure, and standing desks are a trendy thing now... but that's really a niche use case for most computers - probably 0.5% or less. The other 99.5% involves the user sitting at a desk or table.

Re:One or the other (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#41740963)

...why are *no* monitors on the market currently capable of being positioned that way?

I don't know. You tell [hellotrade.com] me [gizmodo.com] ... Note that these aren't exactly what I was looking for, but.. close enough to illustrate that they do exist in some form

Re:One or the other (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#41741039)

Sorry, Here's a better one [soundonsound.com] , ready to go

Re:One or the other (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about a year ago | (#41741931)

Screens laid down are horrible when using a keyboard. There's just no easy way to do it. For serious data entry, even a mouse is an irritation, something that we specifically design our software to avoid so that data entry can happen at maximum speed.

Touch would make the irritation of mouse use ten times worse.

Re:One or the other (5, Insightful)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#41740735)

Also requires A LOT of screen cleaner... an excellent investment opportunity for anybody that believes that touch screens will skyrocket in popularity in the near future.

Re:One or the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740455)

I decided to give Win 8 a try at home with a non-touch screen and a standard mouse. It seems to work fine and I've not got caught in a situation where I had to had touch to interact. It felt normal.

Re:One or the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740473)

Touch is currently horrendous for producing or modifying content.

How does a baseless statement like this get upvoted? I use Keynote on iPad on a daily basis to create presentations with text, graphics and even animations. I've used Chrome on iPhone many times to edit Google Docs. Am I in an alternate universe?

Re:One or the other (2)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#41740573)

Touch is great for accessing and consuming content.

So long as you don't mind 'consuming' it behind a smear of fingerprints all over the screen.

Re:One or the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740965)

Agreed. I would not like having to peer through a nice layer of cheeto/dorito dust, much less touch or have to wipe the nasty stuff.

Re:One or the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740669)

that is silly. People have used Touch (a natural interface) for creating and interacting for as long as we have recorded history. Just because for the last few decades computers weren't capable of "touch" for creation doesn't mean your point has historical validity...

Re:One or the other (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740895)

I think the point that there are differences is valid and is pretty self evident if you actually produce anything involving repetitive motion which a lot of actual desk work does. If you haven't done desk work then you probably have no idea. Managing is not what I am talking about. Typing out hundreds or thousands of lines of text is what I am talking about. Or designing something in a CAD. Doing any of this through touch would just cause me to throw things.

Unification is possible (1)

Dan East (318230) | about a year ago | (#41741543)

Touch is great for accessing and consuming content.

Touch is currently horrendous for producing or modifying content.

These are not yet 'unified' avenues of usage as yet.

However it is possible. I have given content creation / editing (as in writing software) on both iPad and my Samsung Galaxy S3 the old college try. In many ways, it is this close to actually working and replacing my laptop. With my galaxy I've used both bluetooth and USB mice. I would break down the support for using a mouse on the latest version of Android as:
Hardware support: 95%
OS support: 75%
App support: 5%

The problem lies with the apps. They simply aren't written to take proper advantage of a mouse, or even a keyboard for that matter. For example, when I plug in a keyboard, the OS must recognize I'm using an external keyboard, and thus it doesn't show the onscreen keyboard. However, certain apps I've tried must be triggering it programatically at various times (for example when switching away and back to the app), and when the onscreen keyboard pops up in landscape orientation nearly all the screen real estate is wasted.
Yet even ALT-TAB works on the keyboard to allow switching between apps on Android, showing just how surprisingly complete external keyboard support is in some areas.

Text selection and copying is one of the big issues with mouse support, because at the OS level it is still being reduced down to simple touches. Thus you must click-hold to begin selecting, visual indicators designed for touch use are then unnecessarily large, etc. Can (and should) mouse based text selection work optimally on a mobile device, exactly as it does on desktop devices? Of course it can, and without having to change the existing touch-based behavior either.

Now Microsoft does have a chance to get all this right. Instead of mouse and keyboard support being hobbled on as an afterthought, which is how it has (VERY) slowly evolved with Android from version to version, Microsoft can have well thought out support from day 1. More importantly, they can require (or at least make it very easy or implicitly supported) for 3rd party developers to have proper support for these peripherals. Simple things such as not always assuming onscreen keyboards are being displayed, provide keyboard shortcuts, support for mouse scroll wheels, etc.

As others have already stated, the huge concern here is that MS is going to go off the deep end (as is their wont) and push a paradigm or concept too far. For example, if a touchpad or mouse is available, then I should NEVER need to actually touch the screen to do any standard OS GUI function.

Re:One or the other (2, Informative)

wicka_wicka (679279) | about a year ago | (#41740331)

Have you actually tried using Windows 8? It's still very easy to navigate the new UI with a keyboard and mouse. They've adapted a lot of old hotkeys/shortcuts to Metro and added a few new ones. After about 15 minutes I felt nearly as productive as I normally am in Windows 7.

Re:One or the other (4, Insightful)

danomac (1032160) | about a year ago | (#41740871)

Yes, I have. Well, not exactly Windows 8, but Windows Server 2012, which is the same interface.

It took me 15 minutes to figure out where Windows Update was. This is a server and doesn't need a stupid touch interface that makes it impossible to find sysadmin tasks. If anything, it should be an option on RDP servers, and that's it.

I really wonder what the hell the devs were smoking when they put a touch interface on a server.

Tip: Use the bottom-right corner of your screen to find the search tool. Instead of clicking the Windows button and typing a search string. Oh yeah, the interface is so much better now. [/sarcasm]

Re:One or the other (2)

chthon (580889) | about a year ago | (#41741535)

They weren't smoking anything. They were told to do it, in order to provide a consistent interface across all Windows.

I know from experience that there are processes which look like each other superficially. Management then wants to push a unified interface. The domain where I met this problem was in doing the version control for a product and its associated subsystems. These are developed separately. The integration phase (product) is just different from the development phase (subsystems). However, there are people who think that they are the same because they just see builds and baselines. However, the underlying logic is different, because for subsystems one needs to take into account more build problems, while for the product integration phase, fast releases are the prerequisite. Trying to build the same interface just ends up in a double bloated system.

Anyway, the same goes for these products. You have desktop/laptop use, pad/pod use and server use. These are different use cases, which should lead to different analyses, and which should lead to different solutions for the final user.

To use a shoe analogy: it would be like trying to design a shoe which is fit for promenading in the city, trekking and combat use.

Re:One or the other (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year ago | (#41741671)

It's still very easy to navigate the new UI with a keyboard and mouse.

How about just a mouse? I didn't think so, if you want to get stuff done as quick as windows 7 you have to short cut somewhere, on the desktop or in metro, or you have to use a quick key. The mouse travel distance in metro is just awful. Right clicking to see all your apps where you have to travel from the left to the right side of the screen is just bad design, why isn't 'all apps' also on the left hand side?

It's not that W8 is broken, or that it doesn't work. It's that bad design pisses off users who are used to W7 or XP.

Re:One or the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740413)

"If you try to "incorporate touch without giving up the kind of mouse, keyboard capability that's just so natural in most settings.", you end up with Windows 8, Unity, and others I don't even want to know about. Keep touch interfaces out of my desktop, please."

Well said!

Re:One or the other (1)

na1led (1030470) | about a year ago | (#41740745)

Keyboard/Mouse and Touchscreens can work together if it's done right. With tablet laptops, and touchscreen All in 1 PC's, it can be convenient to use both. Problem with Windows 8, the touch part only works well with Metro, not the standard desktop. Try using a touchscreen with the standard desktop browser, it doesn't work.

Isn't he retired? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740149)

I thought he wasn't so involved anymore? PFFFFFTTTTTTT

Re:Isn't he retired? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740205)

Who knows what motivated this spiel. I would take it with several cargo ships loaded with salt.

Re:Isn't he retired? (1)

click2005 (921437) | about a year ago | (#41741639)

Not retired, just irrelevant. He is a full-time whore for US corporate interests now.

Always wanted a heavy goods motorbike (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740291)

Yes yes, I've always wanted a motorbike that takes 4 passengers and can also carry shipping containers.
*sigh* I s'pose 'cos it's software the mangement view is that all that redundant functionality won't actually get in the way of the 10% you actually want in THIS device

Bill said the same about Vista (-1, Flamebait)

jkrise (535370) | about a year ago | (#41740295)

when Shitsta would've been a better name for the product.

Who cares what the old man says anymore? As the Salesforce chap said,Windows is irrelevant these days. Sme goes for Microsoft, Bill Gates ad Ballmer. No one cares what they think or say anymore. The whole tech World has moved on.

Re:Bill said the same about Vista (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#41740933)

Who cares what the old man says anymore? As the Salesforce chap said,Windows is irrelevant these days.

What grade are you in, son? Freshman in college? Junior in high school? because it's pretty damned obvious that you've never seen the inside of an office building. Every single PC in almost every office (Ernie Ball notwithstanding) [cnet.com] is running Windows. On desktops. And there are a lot more PCs in offices than in homes. That said, I'm running kubuntu at home and anyone who has seen many of my comments knows I'm no MS apologist, I much prefer the far superior kubuntu, but your comment was just moronic.

Irrelevant? Son, I feel sorry for you, having all that ignorance and such little knowledge of the world.

BTW, mods, his comment wasn't flamebait, it was just stupid.

Re:Bill said the same about Vista (1)

jkrise (535370) | about a year ago | (#41741703)

Gone are the days of desktops, and apps specifically developed for the desktops. These days,most apps can be run off a browser. The Android ecosystem has captured the low and medium ends of the tablet spectrum, and there are gazillion apps for Android, and Windows apps are miniscule in comparison. It will take a while yet, but highly likely that Windows and Microsoft will continue to slide into irrelevance sooner than later.

what a difference a decade makes (4, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year ago | (#41740301)

It's ironic that the guy who was telling us a decade ago that tablets (with styluses) were the future of personal computing, is now such a big fan of the mouse and keyboard.

Each input method (touch, stylus, mouse, keyboard) has its uses. Different devices need different methods.

but those tablets ran windoze (1)

peter303 (12292) | about a year ago | (#41740425)

Way too complicated GUI for mobile. Steve jobs correctly decided a cell phone GUI was better.

Bill said the same about Vista (-1, Flamebait)

jkrise (535370) | about a year ago | (#41740313)

when Shitsta would've been a better name for the product.

Who cares what the old man says anymore? As the Salesforce chap said,Windows is irrelevant these days. Same goes for Microsoft, Bill Gates ad Ballmer. No one cares what they think or say anymore. The whole tech World has moved on.

An absolutely critical product? (5, Interesting)

OldKingCole (2672649) | about a year ago | (#41740319)

Maybe for Microsoft's survival.

The surface ARM is no more than another netbook (remember those? TABLETS replaced them), and the surface x86 version is just another ultra portable with touch screen support.

As far as Window 8 is concerned, Microsoft is used to shoving its products by leveraging its monopoly in the OEM market. The case with mobile devices however is very different. Microsoft HAS to prove Windows 8 is worth all the fuss (comparing to existing Android and iOS), with the only advantage (which is yet to be tested) of having apps for your Windows based x86 share information with their ARM counterparts (please spare the build-once for both platforms BS). This synchronization may have been a killer app in the early mobile device days, but today information is synchronized across all platforms quite easily.

Microsoft is definitely all-in on this one, if people adopt Windows 8 as a mobile OS, we may very well see Windows taking over the mobile devices market. If it won't, it's only a matter of time until desktop OS's (or at least Windows OS for most desktops) is obsolete, and so will be Microsoft.

Only time will tell, but my money is on a colossal failure for Microsoft

Re:An absolutely critical product? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41741647)

See, the iPad is just a colorful Newton. By your logic, everything is just a piece of hardware with a processor inside. So how do you differentiate products starting from that point of view?

Anti-trust suit weakened Microsoft (4, Interesting)

concealment (2447304) | about a year ago | (#41740321)

After that anti-trust investigation and suit in the 1990s, Microsoft has been waiting for other companies to take innovative steps so that it can adopt them later. The Apple "app store" was a boon to Microsoft, as they couldn't have done it on their own without ending up back in court.

What's come of this is an intelligent strategy. They are essentially reviving an older strategy [arstechnica.com] for making a standardized interface, which will allow developers and users more ability to mix-and-match interface components.

It's also intelligent to sneak away from the venerable win32 and make a gift to developers, which is one platform for mobile, desktop and any other form of computing (knowing Gates: smart house and smart agents) that will arise.

While I have my doubts about the Fisher-Price interface as well, I also felt this way about the "new" desktop in Windows XP. It'll be great to see Microsoft restoring some competition to the world of computing with this new strategy.

Re:Anti-trust suit weakened Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740771)

Regarding the XP look I don't know if you remember it but it came as a shock to MS that one of the first questions when presenting vista on of the first times, was if it was possible to revert back to classic, that was expected and the answer was yes, but that the XP look was NOT accepted was news at the point.

But if you want to be efficient you just turn of all graphic candy.

Gift for developers? (2)

Chemisor (97276) | about a year ago | (#41740867)

More like a trojan horse for developers. Microsoft's decision to make WinRT-based apps appstore-only is a total deal breaker. There is no way I am going to write applications that I am not allowed to sell directly to the user. There is no way any user with half a brain would make himself dependent on an application that can only be installed through the appstore. Those are strings, Pinocchio, and if you voluntarily attach them to yourself or your business, you will get exactly what you deserve.

Re:Anti-trust suit weakened Microsoft (3, Informative)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#41741043)

After that anti-trust investigation and suit in the 1990s, Microsoft has been waiting for other companies to take innovative steps so that it can adopt them later.

Microsoft was doing that long before that antitrust action.

Awfully Simple (4, Funny)

DickBreath (207180) | about a year ago | (#41740345)

Bill Gates

'People want to consume their mail, reading, video anywhere, and they want it to be awfully simple,'

I think he meant to say 'simply awful'.

Re:Awfully Simple (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about a year ago | (#41740495)

Sounds about right. I envision no pleasant way to consume mail.

Re:Awfully Simple (1)

chthon (580889) | about a year ago | (#41741615)

Yeah, well, wasn't that horse already beaten to death by Apple?

Slashdot is down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740383)

But I can't post the story as Slashdot is down!

Am I the only one... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740389)

who doesnt want to put fingerprints all over my freaking monitor?

Wear gloves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740775)

You're welcome

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

garcia (6573) | about a year ago | (#41741539)

I found myself trying to scroll my laptop screen regularly with my fingers and then I got the MBP and now I'm able to do it on my touchpad.

FWIW, I hate smudges on my screen.

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#41742087)

You can buy separe touchpads and it would surprise me if they didn't worked with Windows 8 (or if not - that noone would make them for Windows 8.)

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

Mashdar (876825) | about a year ago | (#41741773)

who doesnt want to put fingerprints all over my freaking monitor?

I was going to make a comment about smudges on your smart phone... But I guess it's a lot easier to wipe your phone on your pant leg.
(Attempts to wipe monitor with shirt. Breaks shirt, office dress code.)

I'm sure Tim Cook will be concerned... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year ago | (#41740407)

... by Gates comments, until he checks apples share price, valuation and performance compared to Microsoft. Then he'll just laugh and go back to practicing his golf swing.

Oh, Billy... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#41740487)

" 'It's evolving literally to be a single platform,' he said, referring to how Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 share a kernel, file system, graphics support, and other elements. At least in theory, that will allow developers to port apps from the desktop/tablet OS to the smartphone OS with relatively little work."

Hasn't Gates been chasing the dream of one Windows to rule them all for something like two decades now? The line of 'Handheld PC' and 'Pocket PC' devices didn't share as much low level architecture, because the hardware wouldn't permit it at the time; but did everything they could to drag a desktop UI onto a teeny touchscreen, and 'tablet' meant getting Windows for Pen Computing 1.0 with your Win3.1 back when meteorites were still mopping up the last of the dinosaurs....

Bill's opinions on the future don't matter (1)

alispguru (72689) | about a year ago | (#41740757)

They used to matter when he ran Microsoft.

Granted, his biggest decisions were usually taken to catch up to the market, not lead it - witness Windows 95 and the "focus on the internet".

Also, his track record on predicting the future is lousy - witness Microsoft Bob and "The Road Ahead".

This is why (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#41740559)

I'm just ordering the parts to build another Windows PC for gaming. I'll need one eventually, and with Windows 7 vanishing soon I don't want to be stuck with an 'awfully simple' OS.

At current Windows release rates, hopefully a box built with high-end parts today will last at least until Windows 10.

Touch screens in 1983 (2)

linebackn (131821) | about a year ago | (#41740641)

The summary puts "touch" and "future" together as if touch is a new thing.

Look up the HP 150. This was a desktop computer with a touch screen back in 1983. I'm sure Bill Gates saw this at the 1983 Comdex - a few booths down MS was demonstrating a vaporware product called "Windows". There are reasons we don't waste our money on touch screens for desktop computers, and they were all hashed out a long time ago. But somehow touch screens are magically new and the old reasons magically don't exist any more.

Re:Touch screens in 1983 (1)

na1led (1030470) | about a year ago | (#41740873)

That technology was used in Kiosks all around the world, mainly ATM machines. I would say that was a big success back then.

Andoid as well.. But then again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740667)

My daughter got a Galaxy Tab 10.1 on x-mas when she was 20month old and been using it since.
BUT Nether she nor you average 3year kid need to be in 3rdp session + citrix containing another 4rdp session + running 10local apps at once.

I have to do that and windows 8 just seem like a pain in the as BIG TIME.

Okay you say, but then your mother, spause and child should run windows 8.
But then I have to support it and I say 'No way in h*ll'. I'ts hard enough to support a OS that you work in on a daily basis on a computer you don't know.

Android/ios is somewhat fine as they are decently locked down but in windows it will just get ridiculous. Just finding the shutdown in windows8 took me a good 20minutes before I by chance stumbled over it.

A dark day in the history of computing (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#41740729)

In the same league as the announcement of the iPhone's curated app ecosystem. Today was the day that mainstream computing officially set a course for curation.

'It's evolving literally to be a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41740937)

Swiss Army knife! And we've all had experience with one-size-fits-all. It usually doesn't work very well.

The main pre-emptory objection to Windows 8 is change. Change for no apparent reason other than the whim of the same company that's had as many losers as whiners.

Why doesn't Microsoft understand that people want their tools to be configurable and give them the option for change? The Office and all its predecessors (and competitors) faciliated productivity nicely with keyboard equivalents, most of which were hang-overs from the command-line editors of yore. Microsoft buried, hid or obfuscated this functionality to the point where Office 2012 hides them completely. They still work if you know about them, but the interface doesn't even hint of their existence. WHY?!

The keyboard is still the fastest I/O device for text input, and until such time as there's an improvement, why does the big corporate productivity enhancer think it's a good idea to mess with the 'productiviy' they claim to enhance? I don't get it.

Does Microsoft have a neural interface in the works that they're not talking about? Does this explain Steven Balmer's strange behavior, or is he really just that weird? If Microsoft is working on neural inductance recognition, I can't wait to find out just how much that will improve Bing! Just think of all the new analytics data that will populate the cloud once M$ can read your mind....

But keep it clean.

So what does Microsoft do? (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about a year ago | (#41741073)

Gates: But you want to incorporate touch without giving up the kind of mouse, keyboard capability that's just so natural in most settings.

So what does Microsoft do with Windows 8? Remove the ability to easily use a keyboard and mouse with the OS.

What about productivity? (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#41741131)

Businesses require an OS with applications that allow for interactivity including ease of multi-tasking. The idea of an OS geared toward uni-tasked pipelined user consumption is only a one-way street. I knew it was bad, but having Bill Gates endorsement this paradigm is the final nail in the coffin.

From my POV, Microsoft Office 365 and VM'ed instances of Server 2012 is the only thing they have worth offering. The client side OS and computing platform paradigm is the antithesis of corporate productivity. Clearly they're abandoning this market segment. Either intentionally or not is irrelevant at this point.

The Road Ahead (2)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about a year ago | (#41741133)

Wasn't Bill Gates the industry visionary who wrote a book about the future of computing and downplayed the Internet? Wasn't Bill Gates the technology visionary at Microsoft who caused Microsoft to miss the onslaught of the Internet, resulting in Microsoft having to scramble to catch up (some might say they never caught up)?

.
Is this the same Bill Gates who is once again talking about what the future brings?

Bill Gates is not a visionary, he is a douche bag. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41741263)

Bill Gates' mother was on the board of the United Way with John Akers who
was CEO of IBM at the time.

Bill Gates was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of
stupid mistakes made by the entrenched companies in the computer
industry. If you are realistic and informed, you cannot name one single
product Microsoft ever offered which was superior to other offerings
in the marketplace. Microsoft achieved dominance not through superior
product offerings but through dirty business tactics.

My only question is this : why does a guy who really did make great stuff
get cancer and die when swine like Bill Gates lives ?

Maybe the old saying : "only the good die young" is actually true.

Re:Bill Gates is not a visionary, he is a douche b (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#41741699)

Speaking in Absolutes, we are?

Not to discredit their diligent use of dirty tactics, but Microsoft got where they were through more than just skulduggery. They were sometimes at the right place at the right time, sometimes not at the wrong place at the wrong time, sometimes they saw a good thing and bought it out. The original Dartmouth BASIC was nowhere near as flexible as what Gates & Allen produced. You don't get that big through dirty work alone, even though it helps.

And I really hope you weren't referring to a certain other CEO recently departed as "good". He did finally qualify legitimately for his handicapped parking space, however.

Gates is no saint, but I'd say he's considerably less abusive and psychopathic than most of his peers, living or dead.

Simplicity isn't always best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41741307)

Desktop & mobile sharing an OS is like putting the same controls on a skateboard as an aircraft carrier - sure you could, but you should really consider the other options first.

Evolving into one was predicted years ago... (1)

west (39918) | about a year ago | (#41741315)

'It's evolving literally to be a single platform,'

It's a floor wax and a dessert topping!

the kind of mouse, keyboard capability.... (1)

Tomsk70 (984457) | about a year ago | (#41741789)

....that's just so totally unsuited to a touch-based interface....such as Windows 8.

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