Microsoft’s new version of Windows, Windows 8, is being helmed as a “rebirth” by CEO Steve Ballmer.
Ballmer claims Windows 8 is the “deepest, broadest and most impactful” Windows software created by Microsoft, high praise considering business sales of Windows 7 reached unprecedented numbers. Addressing an audience attending the Seoul Digital Forum on Tuesday, Ballmer said:
“It’s really, in some senses, a dawning of the rebirth of MS Windows… It’s certainly the most important piece of work we’ve done.”
A standout feature of Windows 8 is the inclusion of Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud service which will allows users to store and share personal data across various devices. Whereas the PC used to act as a central computing hub that distributed multimedia, it now exists as a part of a larger electronics ecosystem.
Windows’ rebirth was motivated by the need to have the operating system functional on a variety of devices, including smartphones and tablets, in addition to current notebooks, Ultrabooks and PCs. In order to effectively accommodate the new mobile form factors, Microsoft has made Windows 8 touch friendly (by masking Windows with a Metro skin) and making it compatible with a stylus.
Although Microsoft has been in the mobile market longer than Google and Apple, it has a smaller slice of the market. According to the SMH, the company is hopeful the relationship between Windows Phone and Windows 8 will help drive sales in both categories.
Ballmer predicts cloud computing will be dominated by a few key players. He estimates within 3-5 years “there will be just a few ecosystems that really can get the critical mass.”
“It’s really a quite smaller and focused number – Windows, various forms of Linux, the Apple ecosystem,” he added.
Ballmer believes approximately 500 million users will have Windows 8 by next year, claiming app developers and device makers have “the best economic opportunity” by focussing on Windows.