Windows 8 Release And Microsoft’s Transition To Touch Discussed In New Interview With Julie Larson-Green

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In a fresh interview with MIT Technology Review, Microsoft’s new Windows chief has shared some insight on the company’s new operating system and her experience leading the Windows team.

Julie Larson-Green, who recently replaced the former head of Windows Steven Sinofsky, revealed that she initially became familiar with Apple’s iPad after the Microsoft team had begun working on Windows 8. Just ahead of the Windows 7 launch in 2009, Larson-Green admitted that Microsoft was intrigued by Apple’s approach to the iPad.

“A lot of things they were doing about mobile and touch were similar to what we’d been thinking,” she said to MIT Technology Review.

With Windows 8, Microsoft aimed to create an operating system that would generate a strong lasting impression rather than instant gratification, the Windows chief said.

“We’re going for the over time impression rather than the first 20 minutes out of the box,” Larson-Green said.

She did admit that there is a learning curve when it comes to Windows 8 for users accustomed to the old Windows approach. According to Larson-Green, it takes between two days and two weeks to full adjust to Windows 8. However, she does believe that the majority of future PCs will have touch screen capabilities, and that computers with touch support are currently selling faster than other PCs on the market.

“You’ll use the mouse and keyboard, but even on the regular desktop you’ll find yourself reaching up doing the things that are faster than moving the mouse and moving the mouse around,” she said.

She continued to discuss the important decision to implement both touch screen and mouse/keyboard interactions heavily into Windows 8.

“It was a very definite choice to have both environments,” she said. “A finger’s never going to replace the precision of a mouse. It’s always going to be easier to type on a keyboard than it is on glass. We didn’t want you to have to make a choice. Some people have said that it’s jarring, but over time we won’t hear that. It’s just getting used to something that’s different.”

When it comes to Microsoft’s former Windows division leader, Larson-Green only had positive things to say about Sinofsky. She did, however, emphasize the importance of teamwork.

“Steven is an amazing leader and an amazing brain and an amazing person, but one person can’t do everything,” she said. “It’s really about the team that we created and the culture that we created for innovation.”

Sinofsky’s departure and the release of Windows 8 have not slowed down this Windows team, Larson-Green said.

“There are always new technologies to think about that can be helpful to people,” she said.

The new Windows leader did not discuss the operating system’s immediate future, but according to The Verge Microsoft is preparing to launch a Windows update codenamed Blue that is projected to ship in mid-2013. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans have told the website that Blue will form the foundations for what could be yearly OS updates to Windows. These updates would emphasize unifying the developer tools, and Microsoft is also working to improve support for 7-inch and 8-inch tablets with Windows Blue.

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