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  (Source: Nazmus Khandaker)
New cross-platform OS project is unprecedented, arguably largest software project in history

A new report in The Seattle Times interviews some of Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) top executives who describe the company's inspired new design direction.  
 
With Windows 9, Microsoft is plotting quite literally the largest software project in history; combining operating systems from at least five platforms, cloud services, and dozens of software projects into one tightly integrated cross-platform bundle of software.
 
It's an incredible vision.  And it's one that could change the entire industry.
 
I. The Path to Unification
 
A major part of why Windows 8 had so many rough edges was because it was an exercise in porting.  But much as Windows Vista was -- in some ways -- a necessary stepping-stone to the more polished and beloved Windows 7, Windows 8 (and 8.1) was necessary as a stepping-stone on the path towards unification.
 
There was always a fair amount of code exchange between the mobile and PC OS trees of Windows.  But in the era of Windows Mobile (2000-2010) that process was more infrequent and sporadic, with development of the two branches largely independent.  With the launch of Windows Phone in 2010, Microsoft found its design direction -- the Modern (Metro) UI.

IE 11 cross platform
 
With Windows 8 and Windows RT, Microsoft looked to have greater code sharing between its various products.  But internally the situation had not substantially improved.  While Microsoft had a unified design and a number of share core features across its platforms, it now had four separate code trees -- Xbox, Windows RT, Windows, and Windows Phone.  Each platform's OS group had a separate design and software team.  When a change was made to core APIs or Modern UI in one of these platforms, it was a time consuming process to port them to the others.  
 
The first change came late last year with a leadership shakeup that unified Microsoft's OS design teams under a single common banner.  With Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 (and the Xbox One), Microsoft began the Herculean task of unifying pieces of its API.  But much work remained.
 
Windows 9
[Image Source: Windows Store (Wallpaper App)]

That work is reportedly culminating with Windows 9, Microsoft's first family of consumer-facing operating systems (OSes) to feature fully unified and synchronous development.  According to The Seattle Times, Windows 9 will be a watershed release for Microsoft.
 
On the backend, Microsoft is approaching maximum unification for APIs.  Form factors (touch, small screens, big screen TVs, etc.) mandate some specialist code, but for the most part Microsoft is reportedly aiming to give customers one look and feel across the smartphone, Xbox, tablet, PC, and tabletop computer (Microsoft's Perceptive Pixel offerings).
 
II. The Men Behind Microsoft's Moonshot
 
Two corporate vice presidents are leading the unification effort.  On the software front, David Treadwell, 47, is leading the update.  On the user interface (UI) front, Joey Belfiore (a veteran manager of the Windows Phone team), 46, is leading the effort.
 
Both VPs report to Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's Operating Systems Group.  In terms of consumer-facing products, one major result of the shifts in leadership was the emergence of the OS group as the leader in development direction -- a seemingly intuitive shift for a company who became a superpower thanks to its MS-DOS and Windows operating systems.
Terry Myerson
Terry Myerson, Microsoft EVP of OS Group
 
Mr. Myerson gushes about his two lieutenants:
 
Joe is just a magnificent painter. Dave is much more a plumber or electrician.  Together we all come together and build this fabulous house that is Windows.
 
Joe Belfiore
Joe Belfiore, Microsoft OS Group VP of UI Design

From now on, says Mr. Treadwell, expect a release to bring updates to all of Microsoft's major platforms.  He describes this revolutionary approach -- which no other OS maker has achieved yet -- stating:
 
We had to finish Windows 8.1 Update, Windows Phone 8.1, Xbox One.  Now that those are done, we are now on the same logistical schedules. We’re going to have one common OS schedule and everything’s going to be aligned with that. We’re doing common planning now, common priority, common release schedules.
 
David Treadwell
David Treadwell, Microsoft OS Group VP of OS Development

What's more, the report quotes Mr. Treadwell as describing how earlier this year an internal memo circulated to nearly all of Microsoft's teams, generating a consensus set of features for the next generation multi-platform operating system.  Mr. Treadwell describes:
 
Before, there was a Windows team, a Windows Phone team, an Xbox team. While there was general agreement of the value of (having a) common core and consistency of design, there were organizational lines that we had to cross to achieve that. There just aren’t these barriers now. 
 
And these efforts weren’t limited just to the OS developers.  They also worked with Microsoft's software and enterprise teams, including the teams responsible for Azure, Office, Bing, and Skype.  The result is that Windows 9 should be giving each Microsoft software project the tools it needs to create a next generation experience.

The software side of things has already come to bear with Microsoft's "Universal Apps", which offer quick porting of a single app across the PC, (HD) tablet, smartphone, and Xbox, with common permissions and bundled customer purchase options.
 
III. Why Windows 9 is a Game Changer
 
During Steve Ballmer's 14-year reign as CEO of Microsoft, there were some high notes, but in terms of market direction Microsoft undoubtedly lost some of its glow to consumers and investors.  Companies like Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc. (GOOG) emerged as real threats to Microsoft's hegemony of personal computing.
 
But with Satya Nadella's tireless commitment to cloud-back services and a unified Microsoft -- his "One Microsoft" vision -- Microsoft appears poised to be producing the most massive and efficient multi-platform project in history.

OneDrive
 
Both Apple and Google are headed in a similar direction. OS X 10.10 is expected to take design cues from iOS 7.  But neither company appears as far along as Microsoft.  What Microsoft is planning -- a singular cross platform update for large computers, consoles, PCs, tablets, and smartphones -- is unprecedented.  It's never been done.  Microsoft is also working to tightly integrate its packed stable of consumer software offerings into these updates, and it's an incredible vision from a technical perspective.

While casual consumers can look forward to a higher degree of polish, there's plenty for power users and enthusiasts to eagerly await, as well.  Microsoft has already stated that either Windows 8.2 (an interim release) or Windows 9 will feature the return of the Start Menu to Desktop Mode.  What's more, Microsoft engineers have hinted that Windows 9 may at last introduce multiple switchable desktops, a much beloved feature from Linux.

Windows: return of the Start Menu
Microsoft is bringing the sexy Start Menu back.  [Image Source: Redmond Pie]
 
Windows 9 is on pace for an April 2015 release.  Windows for tablets and smartphones is expected to continue to be free to OEMs, a major edge over Google's Android which brings licensing fees of $5-15 USD per device to Microsoft.

Needless to say, if Microsoft delivers what its promising with Windows 9, it could be a game changer for the entire industry, the effects of which could be felt for decades to come.

Source: The Seattle Times



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*clap, clap, clap*
By CaedenV on 6/2/2014 3:27:50 PM , Rating: 2
I applaud you MS! This has been a long time coming, and I am glad to finally start to see it. The last few years in making this possible have had several growing pains, but it looks like Win9 is going to be a real gem, and finally give Apple and Google a run for their money across the board.

This is sadly much bigger news than anything at the Apple conference today. I had high hopes for this conference as the focus was all on softwae... but it looks like 100 little tweaks without direction just like the last 2-3 releases. I may not be an Apple fan, but Apple needs to continue to see success. If they keep wandering around aimlessly then it is going to be a world of Google and Microsoft... which is a much worse world than the world of Apple and MS... or even Apple, and Google, and MS.




RE: *clap, clap, clap*
By tonyswash on 6/4/2014 2:52:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

Replying To: *clap, clap, clap*
by CaedenV on June 2, 2014 at 3:27 PM

I applaud you MS! This has been a long time coming, and I am glad to finally start to see it. The last few years in making this possible have had several growing pains, but it looks like Win9 is going to be a real gem, and finally give Apple and Google a run for their money across the board.



Remember this?

www.extremetech.com/computing/55256-preview-micro softs-windows-longhorn
[The URL was altered to comply with DT's absurd spam filter]

Compared to what Apple actually delivered at WWDC Microsoft's 'Moonshot' is just smoke in the wind. By the time it arrives the world would have moved on. They are not even skating to where the puck is now but rather to where it was a while ago.

I don't know what WWDC you were watching but I was watching the one that blew away the developer community and tech observers with it's avalanche of new, and often very big, announcements. Metal, Swift, Continuity, Homekit, Health Kit, iCloud kit. So much and a lot of it totally unexpected. Instead of the still vapourware attempt by Microsoft to build one giant OS covering everything (why?) Apple simply solved today's user problems of working on a variety of different devices whilst keep the OS for each platform appropriate.

Did anyone notice Apple's ongoing evolution of it's very ambitious progressive shafting of Google? Apple's revenge on Google will be perfectly crafted, Bevels, Liquid Metal, Sapphire and all.

This comment about WWDC was very interesting:

quote:
I am amazed at what people miss. “Phone numbers ride on something called a Publicly Switched Network, PSN for short. iDevices just became part of the PSN network. And this actually makes Apple’s network facilities a virtual phone company. Every Mac will be able to make and receive phone calls. And this will allow developers to build in smart calling features into every application… But further, Apple showed off a new communication protocol that allows secure communication between applications via OSX and iOS. This is how the ‘internet of things’ will have to communicate in order that we are not vulnerable to life disruption via hacking. (Think of Googles self-driving car running on a version of Android that is network enabled, BEYOND SCARY).”


RE: *clap, clap, clap*
By retrospooty on 6/4/2014 4:17:32 PM , Rating: 2
MS doesnt need all that. The entire world still runs off MS software, including every system at every factory that makes every Mac and iDevice.. MS needs one thing and they did it.
This screenshot: http://images.dailytech.com/nimage/Windows_8_x_Sta...

1. Windowed Metro apps
2. Hybrid non full screen start menu with live tiles (Whoot!)
3. Live tiles in the same configurable size options as Win8.1 (Large with detailed info, medium with highlight info, and small to save space).

That single screenshot shows us everything that they broke in the past 3 years is fixed. Not only fixed, but the hybrid start menu takes the best of the new and the old and somehow makes it better than the sum of its parts.


RE: *clap, clap, clap*
By tonyswash on 6/4/2014 6:47:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
MS doesnt need all that. The entire world still runs off MS software, including every system at every factory that makes every Mac and iDevice.. MS needs one thing and they did it.
This screenshot: http://images.dailytech.com/nimage/Windows_8_x_Sta...

1. Windowed Metro apps
2. Hybrid non full screen start menu with live tiles (Whoot!)
3. Live tiles in the same configurable size options as Win8.1 (Large with detailed info, medium with highlight info, and small to save space).

That single screenshot shows us everything that they broke in the past 3 years is fixed. Not only fixed, but the hybrid start menu takes the best of the new and the old and somehow makes it better than the sum of its parts.


But is ‘one OS to rule them all’ the answer to Microsoft’s key strategic problem which is that for various reasons the marginal price of software is approaching zero.


RE: *clap, clap, clap*
By tonyswash on 6/4/2014 7:12:25 PM , Rating: 2
Just came across this - I think you might find it amusing - I did :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ3RLSK_bGc


RE: *clap, clap, clap*
By retrospooty on 6/4/2014 7:43:38 PM , Rating: 2
LOL. Classic.


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