Tom Simonite of MIT Technology Review sat down with Microsoft’s Julie Larson-Green, aka: the woman who just took Steven Sinofsky’s job leading Windows. One thing in the Q&A stood out to me in particular:
Did you take that approach in Windows 8 as a response to the popularity of mobile devices running iOS and Android?
We started planning Windows 8 in June of 2009, before we shipped Windows 7, and the iPad was only a rumor at that point. 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.
This implies that Microsoft did not get caught with their pants down when the iPad hit and took off. In fact, the iPad validated the ideas Microsoft had first! They were planning to get (back) into the tablet space all along, you see! They were just taking their sweet time because, well, reasons.
Look, there’s no question that Microsoft had to have been thinking about Windows 8 for a long time. But to suggest that the ultimate direction isn’t a reaction to the current state of the market (read: one dominated by touchscreen devices not running software by Microsoft) sounds ridiculous.
To repurpose a popular phrase: if you guys were the inventors of the iPad, you would have invented the iPad.