Microsoft has started a Building Windows 8 blog (B8, to those in the know) where it hopes to foster a dialog about its newest, in-the-works OS. Far from just an update, Steven Sinofsky wrote in an inaugural post, Windows 8 will be a complete reimagining of the OS for a new generation of devices and developers – including a major focus on mobile.
"That's a big statement and one that we will return to throughout this blog," Sinofsky went on. "It is also important to know that we're 100% committed to running the software and supporting the hardware that is compatible with over 400 million Windows 7 licenses already sold and all the Windows 7 yet to be sold."
In June Microsoft offered a preview of the OS at the D9 Conference, showing off its title-based Start screen, with a customizable view of apps; live tiles showing off notifications; a more fluid transition between running apps; and, among other features, a neat way of letting apps share a screen, either equally or in portions determined by the user.
In September, at its BUILD conference, Microsoft will further tip its hand, sharing its "full range" of tools and capabilities with developers. The role of the blog is to keep chatter from dying down between such spans. It's also a place where those feeling passionate about the topic can air complaints or concerns, ideally in a way Microsoft can address.
Our top priority [with this blog] is the responsibility we feel to our customers and partners, to make sure we’re not stressing priorities, churning resource allocations, or causing strategic confusion among the tens of thousands of you who care deeply and have much invested in the evolution of Windows. Rather than generating traffic or building excitement, this blog is here to provide a two-way dialog about the complexities and tradeoffs of product development.
Microsoft learned many a lesson, some apparently the hard way, during its build of Windows 7, Sinofsky implied, and B8 is a proactive way of acting on those instead of revisiting pitfalls. A wise move, given it expects the OS to reach hundreds of millions of PCs and "well over a billion people globally."
Interested parties can also air concerns, ask questions and offer a digital thumbs up by visiting the corresponding Twitter account, @BuildWindows8.