Building on our vision of modern computing

Building on our vision of modern computing

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Earlier this week I was on stage at the WIRED Business Conference talking about Windows and how it continues to evolve. With Windows 8 we bet on the computing trends shaping today and tomorrow: mobility, touch, apps that connect seamlessly and are with you everywhere you go. We are no longer tied to the desktop, literally and figuratively. 

Each month more than a billion unique Windows PCs get updates from us – and even more are running inside companies around the world. That’s a lot of devices and represents to us the trust and commitment we have with people. Most of them are running Windows 7, some are still running Windows XP, but more and more are running Windows 8 every day.  Earlier this week my colleague Tami Reller announced we have sold more than 100 million licenses of Windows 8 through the first six months on the market. 

We know people choose Windows because it’s important to their lives and their businesses. They trust and rely on Windows for serious productivity and more and more serious fun. We are proud to keep evolving Windows in a way that brings forward over 25 years of computing and to create the platform for tomorrow. As with every radical change, learning is a process. We are getting smarter every day about how to help people learn and make the most of their devices. From work in Windows, to online content, as well materials and demos at retail we are constantly improving and moving forward.

At the WIRED Business Conference I announced we’d share the first public preview of what we are calling internally Windows “Blue” in late June timed with the Build conference. It’s an update to Windows 8 and builds on our vision of modern computing. An OS that lets apps work seamlessly together and put the things you care most about right at your fingertips. We are excited to share the next steps in this vision soon.

Julie Larson-Green
Corporate Vice President, Windows

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  • I'm a fan of the Modern UI and am cheering for its full success.

    To make the novel experience less jarring for new users, I think this article is spot on:

    Your idea of using the same wallpaper for Desktop and Start Screen is brilliant -- and the article is 100% right in suggesting that this be made the *default* option.

    I hope you consider this seriously. Good luck with the forthcoming release!

  • There is an article in PC World ( called "Windows Blue wish list: 15 must-see improvements".  This article and the reader comments have a lot of thoughtful constructive ideas.  You can get it by going to the PC World magazine web site and searching for "Windows Blue wish list" or use the link below:

    In the next-generation Surface tablet, I'd like to suggest that the screen be changed to an aspect ratio of 4:3 and a resolution of 1366x1024.  An aspect ratio of 4:3 is much better than 16:9 on a tablet for web browsing, reading ebooks and reading emagazines.  I prefer a resolution of 1366x1024 because a lot of existing software is difficult to use with small pixels.  Also, please give the user the option of an LTE modem (4G cellular) for internet access.  WiFi is often unavailable or too slow and it is less secure.

  • I am copying this comment from a similar blog. I hope Julie and Microsoft check these comments...

    I do hope to see a more usable scrollbar in windows 8.1 If you want a flat look why not borrow from the flat scrollbar in outlook 2010. At the moment the scrollbar is really hard to spot in windows 8 desktop, especially for very long pages like this blog.  I won't even go into the metro scrollbar which disappears, unless you hover over the area!

    The scrollbar colour is very similar to the background and it's not what you call intuitive. Also removing the start button was a big mistake, I remember first time I used windows 8 I couldn't find the control panel. And using ctrl-X is not a solution, windows is about intuitiveness, this is how it won 90% of the desktop market

  • Zeph
    0 Posts

    I totally agree with Javi368. Most of people say the same about the new design of Windows 8, the concept of "modern" I think is not necessary to be so simple, and too much vivid colors, I think it needs more personalization, now everything from windows has that simple look, I stick with the Windows 7, the transparency, shadows and that comfortable look. And that influences a lot at first glance, no matter of how much new developments and animation it has, but its too plain. I'm sure if the design would be different, people would really like that, same with the new e-mail instead of Hotmail, and not a word about the missing windows live messenger which now is Skype..

  • Another thing is that there should be a windows for schools so schools could sign in with Ms account.

  • Here are some ideas of features/improvements that should in Blue:

    Here are my ideas to improve Windows 8/the next version of windows

    The charms bar should have "Shutdown" just below settings rather than including it in settings. The current "Power" (shutdown) button in settings should be swapped with the main icon in the charms bar labelled "Devices" because I shut down my computer more often then linking it to other displays.

    Right clicking the taskbar should give the option "Display Start Button" with a checkbox that you can tick and untick. This way you can use the charms bar start button to access the start screen and the taskbar button to access the start menu.

    As for closing applications a small "Close App" button could appear at the top of the charms bar.

    Also the first logon should have a new and improved tutorial

    The Windows Blue Setup should have a Modern UI theme

    A new startup sound (Maybe Windows longhorn's startup sound?)

    Letting Secure boot allow other OS. (Maybe)

    HTML improvements (Lets beat Chrome)

    An app that lets you preview all open apps (Modern UI and desktop apps)

    The main thing is that it should be easier to shutdown and eaiser to close apps.

    The next Windows RT should allow other programs downloaded and installed (if you want)


    Protective screen (Maybe Gorilla Glass or some rubber sticking out the edges)

    Surface RT should have a faster ARM processor.)

    The Surface Pro should cool down and bemore quiet (if you can)

  • I see a lot of people expressing their requests and how important a notification center is for them and i just don't get it.

    First of all for me, Windows 8 Phone and Desktop delivers the most unified and relevant notification system than any platform in the form of tiles! Second, i don't even see the big necessity for it. Why all the fuss?

    Unless what they actually request is the ability to control app notifications from a single location on their device. Even for that, i am not so sure of its usefulness as most developers respect the users and they don't push notifications in your face all the time as is the case on iOS and Android.

    So if  someone could kindly explain to me please, why all the fuss with the notification center?

  • Well not sure if this is the place to put this. But... I hear you are getting a lot of flak for Windows 8 and I hate to say it but I an really starting to like it. More so every day. Hate to say it because, though I use Windows (W7 in Parallels on Mac on the left, WindowsXP in front and now Windows8 [sans keyboard/mouse] on the right.) all day, I  haven't been this impressed with a MS OS product since WindowNT. A real love/hate relationship. MS OS has always seemed an engineers view of how to get things done, without a real activity design flow (maybe that's one of the reasons it has done so well). But I think you are onto something here, so keep it up and don't let the naysayers make you mess it up. That's it.  : )

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    The lack of a Notification Center is the reason why I moved back from Windows Phone to Android.  Whoever at Microsoft thought it was okay to not have that in Windows Phone 7.0 should be ostracized from the company.  That is more important that "Live Tiles" IMO and Live Tiles do not replace a suitable Notification Cache/Center.  If Badges and Pop-Ups (that didn't disappear and become "unknown" after a few seconds) weren't enough on iOS, what made them think Live Tiles and Toasts (that are completely oblivious to you unless you're awake and at see them when they happen, otherwise they're gone forever with no trace esp. if the app isn't pinned) were enough on Windows Phone?  That was sheer idiocy...  To launch Windows Phone 8 without them?  Well, let's just say unlike 7.0 release when I was somewhat of a fanboy and an evangelist...  I don't even mention the platform to people who ask me for advice on buying a phone.  A smartphone without a reliable notification system isn't that smart.  WP8's Notification System simply cannot be depended on the way Android and iOS' can.

    Secondly, the price of the Surface RT pretty much killed it for me.  Sorry, but I'm not paying iPad Price for a Windows Machine with 1/4th an Operating System and a bad app ecosystem (without the ability to use Desktop Apps, a Windows RT machine is fundamentally useless for me since there are gaps that don't exist on iOS/Android devices which are very hard if not impossible to close on Windows Phone - like simply being able to load the Google Talk Desktop App for IM/File Transfer/VoIP.  Built in on Android, but impossible on Windows Phone because you cannot install the Browser Plug-In and you cannot install the Desktop App - period.  There is no way to access Google+ Hang-Out Functionality as a work around on Window RT, as is possible on iOS devices, either.

    Skype isn't Good Enough.  If someone calls you on Skype and you're limited to an RT client.  By the time you click the Notification and the app opens the person will have hung the phone up thinking you aren't even there...  It's useless.  Nevermind, it has some of the slowest file transfer speed I have ever encountered in an IM client...  They should have kept Messenger.  I don't see how trying to get people to sign up for yet another messaging service is supposed to improve anything, other than their frustration with me (WTF?  I need ANOTHER account and app running on my phone/PC/Tablet?!?!)...

  • Users, and 'The Press', will soon know that Windows 8 is really the platform of the future: It is the no-longer Desktop OS.

    Windows should evolve into a much universal OS for PCs, tablets, and phones, so it can be one on these all.

    And this should be done perfectly, with the same features and functionality.

  • jjbowles
    43 Posts

    , My take is that WP8 already has a notification center called the ME TILE. It works very well with all the built in apps. All they need to do is open this up to 3rd party developers.  

  • xpclient
    50 Posts

    The problem with Windows and all of Microsoft is the closed development mode they have adopted where true beta testing doesn't take place and everything is "By Design". In such a model, it is too late to fix major blunders after it's  nearly ready to ship and only minor bugs can be fixed.

  • Nikos
    1 Posts

    Hello Julie and congrats for the great job you guys are doing on both Windows and Windows Phone.

    I am using both Windows 8/RT across my PCs/Tablet and Windows Phone 8.

    I love and strongly believe and supporting to Microsoft's new vision that introduced with the new Windows. I am following the Windows Blue development very closely and I really like what I see so far (well from the leaks) Windows 8 evolving and changes based on customer feedback and while I see you guys responding to almost all major criticism on Windows 8, I am surprised and kind of disappointed that one major subject has not been discussed, or leaked yet. It is my personal No1  complain from the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 and my No1 request for Blue in both Windows and Windows Phone, its causing major problems to me and thousands if not million others and its nothing else than the absent of a real Notification Center.

    Currently the Notifications on Tiles method you are using is causing the following issues:

    1. The only way to get Notifications is to pin a Tile to the Start Screen, so we have to pin tiles for Apps we do not even want to have in our Start Screens just to get Notifications.

    2. Even then, the Notifications are spread across the Start Screen (which is getting bigger and bigger in daily bases) and we have to manually scan every single tile to spot a numeric notification on Tile.

    3. Notifications are hardly synchronized across my Windows devices. I read a Skype message on my phone and its still shows on my Tablet for example until I read it again from there. That happen with many apps.

    4. Lock Screen Notifications are limited to a specific number. I never had more than 7 notifications pending in my lock screen at the same time, but I always have more than 7 Apps issuing Notifications in different times and due to the App limit we cannot have proper Lock Screen Notifications, I am always missing something because of the App limit.

    5. App specific Controls like Music controls are appearing randomly on the screen

    So basically we have a great App oriented OS with most Apps issuing and generating Notifications and we do not have a Notification Center to handle them properly.

    Like all major competing OS already offer, we also need an advance Notification Center to host and organize ALL App Notifications under one roof and be able to read, or dismiss Notifications from there easily. From the same place we can also access App Specific Controls like Music Volume etc. All App can then push the same notifications (just numeric and not in detail) on the Lock Screen, there is no need for Notifications Limit on the Lock Screen please take off this limitation.

    I really really really hope you guys are working on it for BOTH Windows and Windows Phone Blue (it just didn't leaked yet)

    I really hope that finally a real Notification Center will be a major part of the next update.

    Keep up all the good work, I hope such a feedback will help the team even farther.


  • Microsoft may be brandishing around numbers and saying how successful Windows 8 was, "selling 100 million units is a good thing". Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but selling 100 million PCs which are then upgraded back to windows 7 is not a good thing.

    Windows 8 ignored your biggest user base: the White-Collar workforce. Not only that, but you ignored repeated requests and criticism PRE-RELEASE. Can anyone else say "I told you so".

    Not only that, but you've made UAC even worse. Instead of a "GateKeeper" like solution, we get a product that constantly prevents us from being productive.

    What's that? You're changing your hosts file, and didn't elevate first? Oh sorry, you're gonna have to redo that work, or save somewhere else. Why can't I just elevate right there and then? Clearly you know I'm trying to access the restricted area, so how about asking for permission?

    And Windows 8 makes it even worse by disabling half our system if we actually turn it off? Yeah, sure, drag the slider all the way down, makes no difference in Win 8, it's still going to block everything you do. You have to use GPO / registry hacks to properly disable it, and then none of the shiny start menu that you forced down our throats works anyways?

    Good Job Microsoft.

    Is it any wonder you're losing all your talent to Google etc? Even their beta products have a better user experience than your flagship products...

  • pandama
    0 Posts

    Very good and has many improvements and exciting new.

  • I currently use Windows 8 on a non-touch laptop that is most often used connected to an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I like the OS very much, and I find very usable with the keyboard and mouse.

    I have one suggestion for use in a keyboard/mouse, non-touch situation: right-clicking to expose toolbars in the Win8 apps works but not elegantly. Would it be possible to add an option to expose these tool bars by moving the mouse to the top or bottom of the screen (similar to how doing this exposes the taskbar on the Desktop when the taskbar is hidden)? To cut down on accidental activation of these toolbars, It may even be possible to give an indication of the taskbar by touching the pointer to the top or bottom of the screen and then requiring horizontal movement to fully activate the taskbar (similar to the way the charms appear when accessed with the mouse). I think this suggestion would result in more fluid use of the new Win8 apps as well as increase discoverability in a keyboard/mouse setting.

    Thank you for your excellent work; looking forward to Blue.

  • Javi368
    0 Posts

    Also the return of smooth fonts (antialiased): Truetype / Opentype / Cleartype

  • pandama
    0 Posts

    Very good and has many improvements and exciting new.

  • EWeiss
    0 Posts

    Wir befinden uns nicht in einem Staat(Deutschland) wo Erwachsenen das Entscheidungsrecht

    abgenommen wird als wären Sie Kinder.

    Wie kommen Sie also dazu mir die Entscheidung abnehmen zu wollen was für ein System

    Desktop-PC oder Tabled ich jetzt und in Zukunft verwenden möchte?

    Wenn ihr mir die Option weiterhin unter Windows vernünftig Arbeiten zu können

    mit eurem Metro Kram oder was immer verwähren wollt dann ist Windows 7 definitiv

    das letzte Betriebssystem das ich unter Windows verwenden werde.

    Zum Arbeiten brauche ich den Desktop inklusiver Mausbedienung (intuitiv bedienung) und nichts anderes.

    Was soll ich also mit eurem wischi-waschi auf meinem Monitor das ist einfach ein Unding.

    Zuzugeben, dass Win8 auf ganzer Linie ein Schuss in den Ofen war, wäre von ihnen zu viel verlangt.

    Sie müsste ja sofort zurücktreten.

    Es macht keinen Sinn etwas schön reden zu wollen was es nicht ist.

    Dadurch wird es auch nicht besser! Tut was...

  • PMathan
    0 Posts

    I'm positive for the future of Windows 8. I hope "Blue" will be the "WinXP SP2" moment for the OS which should see significant uptake. I have been trialling Windows 8 in the enterprise for sometime and the desktop environment works very well like a souped-up Windows 7. However, the for the 'Modern UI' to take off for productivity apps, we need the ability to snap multiple apps on multiple screens. We also need a notification centre and every single control panel option should be doable in the Modern UI settings. Its a myth that everyone wants a touch screen, for productivity you cannot beat a precision pointing device like a mouse or digital pen. Give the option for developers to target their apps to a pointing device by giving new controls/templates for more densely populate apps. The day you can use all features of Excel or Photoshop in the Modern UI shell is the day you know you've made it for the enterprise.

  • You've sold Windows 8 for a fraction of the price that you sold other Windows versions for and yet it wasn't as successful as Windows 7. Not by a long shot. And of course Corporations bought Windows 8 but that wasn't because they thought Windows 8 was particularly good- it was because of the pricing.

    You've brought back single-task computing to multi-core systems and you honestly think that's the future of computing? Windows 8 feels and handles like the interface of a gaming-console. You also claim to have liberated people from the desktop, that is a liberation nobody asked for.

  • jhp2025
    0 Posts

    Hi Julie, you're so lovely, and with you, Microsoft Windows surely will gonna be much better and more solid as future global Operating System.

  • Javi368
    0 Posts

    Why your vision of modern computing is very ugly? The ModernUI interface remember the begining of GUI's like GEM, Apple2 and Windows 2.0. I agree that is not ugly for some people but i'm sure is ugly to the mayority and its necesary an option to configure and personalize it. Why that some strong colors? What about rounded borders, gradients, shadows, etc that i see in Windows 7? Why comparing screens between Windows 7 and Windows 8 it seems to be that Windows 7 is more beatiful? Please think about it.

    Other things that stop upgrading Windows XP on enterprise is that Copy "User Profile" is disable since Windows Vista, Expand All Programs in "Start Menu" is no longer available on Windows 7, Older Versions or File History is no longer available on the same drive in Windows 8, and backup and restore is deprecated in Windows 8.

    Please fix this things, add the "Start Menu" with the posibility to "Expand All Programs", return the "Aero" theme and will upgrade to next version of Windows me and my company. Because of this things some companies stick on "Windows XP". If not, will stick on Windows 7 and Windows XP forever.


  • Microsoft and Julie we trust both of you , Windows 8 is awesome go ahead we wait Windows blue :)

  • BeckB
    0 Posts

    I am looking forward to finally see a real Notification Center in Windows Blue and WIndows Phone Blue.

    This request is way on top of the list for me and many other people.

    Hopefully you guys are not going to disappoint :/