With Microsoft targeting a Windows 8 RTM date of around July 2011, work should be well underway. While we've already caught glimpses of work on top of Windows 7 in a recent 7700 build, we don't much about what will be different.
Windows 7 fixed a lot of the issues and discontent surrounding Windows Vista, so where will Microsoft go from here? A now-removed blog post from MSDN (but salvaged from Google Cache by MSFTKitchen) hinted that there will be great things to expect from an OS that'll show itself just two years following Windows 7.
The popular name for the next version is still Windows 8, but the blog entry did point out that some inside Microsoft are referring to it as Windows.next. Not only that, but the writer also characterized the upcoming Windows version as "something completely different from what folks usually expect of Windows…" (see the full post reproduced below).
John Mangelaars, Regional VP of Consumer and Online at Microsoft EMEA, added in a separate interview, "[Apple is] doing well on the PC side but Windows 7 is a blockbuster. We got it really right. For me, Windows 8 will be mind-blowing."
One of the great (or maybe not so great) things of being at Microsoft is that every other person wants to ask you why Windows works the way it does. Since I'm part of the Windows update team I get asked even more why does my machnie reboot everytime there is an update and why are there so many updates. So naturally once Windows 7 shipped, my friends, neighbours, relatives, and whoever else you can imagine started asking me So whats next?
Folks started asking me whats in Windows 8 - and the first thing I have to say is that I resonate Steven Sinofsky's interview on who said we're calling it Windows 8? I agree with Steven that till things are baked there is no point floating ideas since it leaves people frustrated when things don't turn out the way they expected. The Windows team promised to deliver a smarter, faster and more user friendly OS with Windows 7 and they delivered just that - the latest quaterly results of Microsoft are a clear indication that Windows 7 has been a success and customers got what Microsoft had promised them! The plan is to use a similar approach for the next version of Windows and till things are finalized you're not going to get a "marketing" name from us:)
So how am I referring to the next version of Windows without saying that many words - well simple - Windows.next:) This is definitely not the official version but a version that is becoming common along my circle. So what are our plans for this next version...
The minimum that folks can take for granted is that the next version will be something completly different from what folks usually expect of Windows - I am simply impressed with the process that Steven has setup to listen to our customers needs and wants and get a team together than can make it happen. To actually bring together dozens and dozens of teams across Microsoft to come up with a vision for Windows.next is a process that is surreal! The themes that have been floated truly reflect what people have been looking for years and it will change the way people think about PCs and the way they use them. It is the future of PCs...
Thats about it for this post for the time being - I know I'm not sharing much at this point but right now I can't as we work towards finalizing that vision. Feel free to post your comments on what you think Windows.net should be like!