Windows 8 is definitely not something Microsoft churned out just to compete with the iPad, according to the company’s newly-instated Windows Chief Julie Larson-Green in a new interview this week.
An extensive interview profiling the head of Windows product development at Microsoft reveals that Microsoft’s initial thoughts had nothing to do with the iPad, regarding a potential rivalry with Apple’s blending of the desktop and mobile environments into one product.
Asked whether Microsoft tailored Windows 8 “as a response to the popularity of mobile devices running iOS and Android,” Mrs. Larson-Green confidently points out that Apple’s iPad wasn’t even on their radar back then.
“We started planning Windows 8 in June of 2009, before we shipped Windows 7, and the iPad was only a rumor at that point,” she says, adding that she had only become acquainted with the Apple tablet when Windows 8 was already a polished product.
“I only saw the iPad after we had this design ready to go. We were excited. A lot of things they were doing about mobile and touch were similar to what we’d been thinking,” notes Larson-Green.
The Windows chief, who just recently took over the duties of Microsoft veteran Steven Sinofsky, cleverly shifts attention to innovative features in Windows 8, attempting to peg the company’s new OS as an original release, rather than something designed with competitors in mind.
“We [also] had differences,” she says. “We wanted not just static icons on the desktop but Live Tiles to be a dashboard for your life,” adds Larson-Green, referring to the Windows 8’s most prominent feature, previously known as the Metro UI.
The Windows chief adds, “we wanted you to be able to do things in context and share across apps.”
In a blow to Apple’s iOS, where multitasking is not exactly a selling point, Larson-Green says, “we believed that multitasking is important and that people can do two things at one time.”