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  (Source: Mashable)
Julie Larson-Green is working to fill Sinofsky's shoes

When Microsoft's Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky hit the road last month, Julie Larson-Green stepped in as the new sheriff in town (as far as Windows 8 goes, anyway). Larson-Green didn't inherit an easy role, so it's fair to ask: Can she fill Sinofsky's shoes?

Larson-Green, who has worked for Microsoft for 20 years and led the introduction of huge ideas like the ribbon interface for Microsoft Office, recently interviewed with Tom Simonite at MIT Technology Review in an attempt to offer insight on what it's like to grab hold of Windows' biggest redesign and attempt to bring everyone on board with the new look and feel.

According to Larson-Green, so far, so good. While Sinofsky was a strong force in the Windows environment with a brilliant mind and explosive personality, Larson-Green insists that "not much" has changed since she took over his position.

"I've worked directly with Steven for seven years but known him for the whole 20 years I've been at Microsoft," said Larson-Green. "We think a lot the same about what the role of Windows is in society, what computing looks like, and getting people on board with that point of view."

Getting everyone on board hasn't been easy. Windows has had a solid user interface design since Windows 95, which was the start of a more object oriented interface. Users had become accustomed to this for nearly two decades, and Windows 8 flipped that entire concept on its head.

Julie Larson-Green [Image Source: Microsoft]

Windows 8 features what was once called the Metro style user interface, with colorful live tiles and a repositioned Start button. The new design was mainly for touch purposes in mobile products like Microsoft's Surface and Windows Phone 8, but some have had a hard time digesting this new look for desktop use. So why the radical change?

"When Windows was first created 25 years ago, the assumptions about the world and what computing could do and how people were going to use it were completely different," said Latson-Green. "It was at a desk, with a monitor. Before Windows 8 the goal was to launch into a window, and then you put that window away and you got another one. But with Windows 8, all the different things that you might want to do are there at a glance with the Live Tiles. "

She added the importance of touch on desktops as well as mobile devices to enhance the experience of using Windows 8, while still giving users the option to have a keyboard and mouse. She said it takes people anywhere from two days to two weeks to get adjusted to all the changes in Windows 8, depending on how invested they were in the traditional versions.

This brings us to the Surface tablet, which is Microsoft's first homemade hardware running Windows. Larson-Green addressed the new product briefly (nothing about sales numbers or demand, which have been in speculation lately).

"It was a way to test our hypothesis of a new way of working," said Larson-Green. "It takes time for individuals to adjust, but it also takes time for the industry to adjust to new things—all the complicated things about the supply chain and issues like what sizes of glass gets cut. Surface is our vision of what a stage for Windows 8 should look like, to help show consumers and the industry our point of view on what near perfect hardware would look like."

Sinofsky, former president of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live division, announced that he was leaving the company last month after a little over 23 years with the tech giant. It was reported as a "sudden" move that no one expected, but details about the departure show that the decision was contemplated for a while and even backed by Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates.

While Sinofsky was seen as a brilliant figure at Microsoft, his downfall was that he didn't get along with others within the company. He was notorious for picking fights with other executives, including current CEO Steve Ballmer, and even pushed former executives like chief software architect Ray Ozzie to quit.

Source: MIT Technology Review

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RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Targon on 12/14/2012 4:18:21 PM , Rating: -1
Realistically, the big problem with Windows 8 is the lack of the Windows XP virtual machine we saw with Windows 7 Professional. There are still a lot of people out there who have old applications that will not work under Windows Vista, 7 and 8, and needing to install virtualbox to run them is going to cause some headaches.

As far as the start button is concerned, you have the "start screen", and you have the old desktop. You switch between the two by clicking in the lower left corner. How is that any worse than clicking on start to find EVERYTHING you want to use anyway? I don't care for the change to backup either, since the option to make a full system image is far more important for many people who don't want to reinstall apps after having to reinstall the OS.

RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Reflex on 12/14/2012 4:30:13 PM , Rating: 3
Hyper-V is built into Win8 and you can virtualize any older version of Windows you want and run it locally.

RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By B3an on 12/14/2012 6:50:21 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Win 8 is the most backwards compatible OS that MS has ever released. And now theres also no need for bloat like WM Ware or Virtual Box.

Same with the native ISO mounting and VHD support. No more bloatware needed.

RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By spamreader1 on 12/17/2012 8:45:15 AM , Rating: 2
Except it doesn't run on a lot of hardware. (even a lot of our core i5 systems in the shop) Unfortunatlye we haven't been able to get the older version of virtual pc to run, so we've been forced to purchase cals of VMware player to get around it on our few win8 boxes. :(

RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Mint on 12/14/12, Rating: -1
RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Trisped on 12/14/2012 6:24:32 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly. The start page backlash really doesn't make sense. It's a giant start menu giving you more one-click access, spatial arrangement ability, and has an OPTIONAL second app ecosystem. What's so hard about simply not using the latter if you don't like it, and just enjoying all the other improvements?
It does not sound like you used the start menu much. I use it 5-50 times a day to access different programs and files. Often times I copy a folder path, hit the start key, press ctrl-v, press enter, and I am to my destination in a fraction of a second.

The fact is that my desktop does a better job with "spatial arrangement ability" and in addition to the windows+d keyboard short cut there is now a button on screen which takes you there.

RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By ChronoReverse on 12/14/2012 7:52:34 PM , Rating: 2
Unless I'm reading what you typed wrong, it sounds like you haven't used Windows 8.

Often times I copy a folder path, hit the start key, press ctrl-v, press enter, and I am to my destination in a fraction of a second.

This still works in Windows 8!

RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Trisped on 12/18/2012 11:34:10 PM , Rating: 2
I have used it.

I copy the path in, press start, press ctrl+v and am greeted with "No apps match your search."

Of course after your post I tried it and pressed enter and it worked. I am not sure if I just never tried pressing enter because the main results said I had failed, or if I pressed enter and nothing happened and I have since been updated to a version with the functionality.

Anyways, thanks for the comment as it resolved the #1 reason I was never going to upgrade to Windows 8. I still have other reasons (no Windows XP Mode, don't like the way the start screen looks, etc.) but at least I can use the OS.

RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Mint on 12/16/2012 3:02:46 PM , Rating: 2
And which of these things don't work in Win8?

There's still a desktop. It still has the same shortcut. You can still type a folder name after pressing the windows key.

RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Trisped on 12/18/2012 11:36:36 PM , Rating: 1
See my reply to ChronoReverse (works now, but I remember it not working before).

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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