Microsoft’s New Windows Chief: Windows 8 Is Not A Response To Popularity Of iOS And iPad

Microsoft’s New Windows Chief: Windows 8 Is Not A Response To Popularity Of iOS And iPad

Following the launch of Windows 8 and the Surface RT, Microsoft’s head of Windows, Steven Sinofsky, abruptly left the company. Some assumed Sinofsky would become the next CEO so it left many to wonder about the fate of Windows 8 and the approach they will take to software in the future.

Julie Larson-Green has been tapped to replace Sinosky and she’s started her reign by talking to the media about what makes Windows 8 special. While many view Windows 8 and the Surface RT as responses to the iPad’s popularity, Larson-Green claims that Microsoft totally didn’t even think about the iPad and iOS when designing Windows 8.

In a recent interview with the MIT Technology Review, Larson-Green was asked what kind of approach the Microsoft team took in the development of Windows 8 -

“Did you take that approach in Windows 8 as a response to the popularity of mobile devices running iOS and Android?

We started planning Windows 8 in June of 2009, before we shipped Windows 7, and the iPad was only a rumor at that point. I only saw the iPad after we had this design ready to go. We were excited. A lot of things they were doing about mobile and touch were similar to what we’d been thinking. We [also] had differences. We wanted not just static icons on the desktop but Live Tiles to be a dashboard for your life; we wanted you to be able to do things in context and share across apps; we believed that multitasking is important and that people can do two things at one time.”

When you compare iOS to Windows 8, Larson-Green’s claim seems pretty true. The two operating systems share common ground with touch and the fact that they work on tablets, but other than that, they’re very different. The fact that Microsoft tried to do something different – rather than just rip off iOS like Android has done – is commendable.

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  • Cesar Florez

    good article.. i give microsoft respect on that last note

  • itsme nyc

    disingenuous much? The iPad wasn’t out yet but they had two years to study the iPhone and iOS…

  • David Griffin

    Buster, a response to Apple, vs mimicking the springboard, are two entirely different things. YES, Windows 8 was a direct response to Apple’s success with iOS/iPhone. Just because they didn’t copy the app launcher UI is only a very small piece of the puzzle. How about the touch-based UI and underlying framework, the App Store, the RISC architecture, the software/hardware control, etc etc etc. Don’t let the live metro tiles fool you.

  • dcdevito

    A Windows App Store, Microsoft retail stores, self-branded hardware, etc Come on man – they copy Cupertino more than Samsung does.

  • BWinski

    Right…. And I don’t need my left foot to walk straight either.

  • Paullloydjohnson

    Oh she’s deluded. She’ll fit in great at Microsoft along with Ballmer.

  • robert_walter

    Of course she has to say those things. Of course it’s not all true what she says either.

  • technochick

    They still had two years of iOS on the iPhone to look at. And if this was ready to go in 2009-10 why wait until now to release it with or without hardware. Maybe they were designing well before the iPad, unlike Samsung who were busted in court, but it sure seems like they didn’t move to release until someone else tested the waters

  • wytchkraft_corp

    if you ask me, the fact that she used the word “apps” brings down her whole argument…but it is quite true that Windows 8 really is different rather than just yet another iOS rip off…

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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