The path to Windows 8 will be a smooth one, according to Tami Reller. Microsoft's corporate vice president and CFO of Windows and Windows Live told an audience of about 12,000 at the Staples Center that Windows 7 "is the path to Windows 8."
As CDN reported earlier Windows 8 will be supporting Intel's ARM processor, but Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) went a bit further at the Worldwide Partner Conference saying Windows 8 will be a "true reimagining of Windows that will usher in the dawning of the Windows slate/tablet era.
While few details where released at the show on Windows 8, Reller said there will be plenty of Windows 7 deployment opportunities as Windows 8 devices and applications will work in the same environment as Windows 7 PCs and apps. As for the channel opportunity, Reller added there are still more than 200 million PCs currently running Windows XP and that it's time for solution providers to set up customers for the future.
Windows 7 has been a runaway success Reller said. She pointed out that 27 per cent of the Internet runs on Windows 7. The transition to Windows 8 starts now and will involve the entire channel ecosystem from solution providers to hardware OEMs, distributors and direct market resellers.
Upgrading to Windows 8 should focus on lowering costs for customers. This was the story for Windows 7, Reller said. Most customers that upgraded to Windows 7 resulted in a material cost savings in PC management and PC deployment.
She added that as more workers become mobile data will become increasingly at risk and that Windows 7 reduced that risk.
To prepare for the Windows 8 migration, when it comes, Reller said the company is readying the hardware ecosystem of partners on Windows 8 devices. She said that they already previewed the user interface to channel partners and next steps will be announced in September at the Microsoft Build Conference in Anaheim, Calif.Reller did reveal that the user interface will comprise a mosaic of tiles over traditional icons. "Tiles show better personality. For example, the weather app will show you the current temperature instead of opening it to find out," Reller said.
And, when Windows 8 does ship developers will know how to build new apps for it. She said that the approach for developers will be for them to use every pixel on the screen to represent the app.
"One of the great things on a PC is that you can multi-task on PC. Look at the Snap feature where you can view two apps at once; snap them together and choose which one to minimize or make bigger," she said.
Windows 8 will attempt to upgrade the entire ecosystem of the PC and for devices of tomorrow such as the slate/tablet. "Vendors can create next generation devices for the modern workforce. For business customers this is important as Windows 8 will run on Windows 7 services. So the hardware investments customer made (in Windows 7 hardware) will take advantage of Windows 8. We see a future with heterogeneous devices and so customers can move forward with Windows 7 rollouts with more motivation than ever before," Reller said.
Reller also announced that the next beta version of Windows Intune for cloud-based PC management and security is out.
There are more than 15,000 channel partners from 120 countries at this year's conference. And, as a bonus for attendees Microsoft is offering five per cent referral margin on Microsoft Dynamics.
Jon Roskill, after one full year at the helm of Microsoft channel business reported that for ever dollar the company makes solution providers will earn $8.70. That earning power translated to $580 billion last year. "If we are a country we would be ranked 19 in the world behind Switzerland and ahead of Indonesia. Over the course of the past year I have learned a lot about businesses and the way channel partners are changing the world all around us and it's really impressive," he said.