Azure is great because virtual machines and platforms like SQL Server are instantly configurable and come online at the touch of a button. (Or as we were shown this morning, at the touch of the keyboard on the command line. Brought me back to the good old days.) Web sites, mobile apps and other applications can call on Azure services instantly, and such interaction is easily configurable via Visual Studio.
Obviously at this developer conference, Microsoft is pushing hard for the audience of developers to target Windows 8. Microsoft gave every developer in attendance a Windows RT Surface Tablet (and a Nokia Windows Phone 8 Smartphone).
Last night, I met with a former Microsoft employee who was very senior at the time he left Microsoft and who invented key technology that led to the rise of the Office empire.
He and I agreed that Windows RT feels “half finished.” Our main reason was the disconcerting drops to a Classic Desktop Windows view that one sees while using it.
Microsoft includes a version of Office with every Windows RT Surface. Great strategy. Office is an important, huge differentiator for Microsoft and very familiar to many consumers.
However, the first thing one sees when touching an Office app icon is a switch to Classic Desktop view as the app is launching. Also from the “why?” category, there is an easy way to reach “Settings” within the Windows RT user interface. But if one selects “all apps” – one sees an icon for “Control Panel,” which seems redundant with Settings. And the first thing these legacy “apps” do is drop you into Classic Desktop view.
Last night our opinion was Windows RT is “half finished.” My assumption was they have not finished “hiding” Classic Desktop view in Windows RT.
On the other hand, today, I notice that every session title has Windows 8, and Microsoft is not differentiating between Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 RT when pushing developers to develop Windows 8 apps. Clearly, they want new Windows 8 apps to adopt the Windows RT user interface paradigm. But could it be that “half finished” means that instead of finishing the cover-up of Classic Desktop in Windows RT, they are not finished porting all of Classic Desktop to ARM? Although possible, not likely, given the disparity of APIs available in each of Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro.
All in all, I am confident that Microsoft has a viable platform in Surface. As other reviewers have mentioned, the software just needs more polish. As they have many many times in the past, Microsoft will achieve this.
Thanks for visiting!
Gregory Clary, Mi-Co CEO and Co-Founder