Microsoft Is Trying to Calm Our Fears About Windows 8

As expected, Microsoft has taken this event to give us reasons to love its new operating system.

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As expected, Microsoft has taken this event to give us reasons to love its new operating system that people have already decided to hate. That's CEO Steve Ballmer over there, trying to make us feel better. "You're all going to love Windows 8. But I know you won't take my word for it," he said, before trying to get us to take his word for it.

Confusing Windows 8.  Despite all the confusion, Windows 8 is better than 7, insisted Microsoft President Steve Sinofsky. Starting at midnight tonight, for $39.99 you can get better battery life, better start-up times, and on touch display compatible computers, you get all the swipey goodness. Today Windows also announced a line-up of touch compatible laptops from its hardware partners to make the touch-i-ness more relevant.  But what about the confusion that users are experiencing because of the tiles and lack of start screen, which Microsoft later described as "better" in Windows 8? "No need for manuals," said Sinofsky. The OS comes with a built in how-to use it manual—in the computer. That's not actually a good sign, since our confused users had that at their disposal when first testing it out. And other computers are intuitive enough not to need guide books.

What's the difference between Windows 8 and RT? Sinofsky went ahead and explained how Microsoft sees it: "Windows RT is different than Windows 8, it doesnt run programs designed for Windows 7," he said. That doesn't really clarify things. He went on: "It only runs apps you can acquire from the Windows store," he continued, saying something about better performance and reliability.

Where are all the Apps? Compared to competitors, Microsoft has the saddest app store. But it does have the following leg up. "More apps than any competing app store had at its opening," said Sinofsky, while a less grainy version of the photo to the right, showing 60 of the "thousands of apps" available flashed up on the screen. Sure, Microsoft, you can have a medal for that. But, finishing last faster isn't much of a benefit for people who just want access to apps. Note there is no Facebook up there. Later, CEO Steve Ballmer tells developers that they have an "unprecedented opportunity" to bulk up the store, which read a little bit like a desperate cry to get people to come build for them.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.