SAN FRANCISCO _ Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s operating systems group, answered a few questions about the new direction Microsoft is heading with Windows 10.
Here are edited excerpts of our conversation:
Q: How are you going to build this differently?
A: The truth is this Windows is being built dramatically differently in so many different ways.
Q: How so?
A: From an external perspective, this focus on sharing more so we can get our customers feedback integrated into the system and continuously shipping – no one else in the industry is doing this. We’re going to learn a lot from our customers along the way.
Q: How do you balance the new, more rapid release approach with customers’ desire for predictability and stability – emergency rooms, enterprise customers? They don’t want a stream of releases.
A: Well the Insider program you can think of right now as being pre-release. There will be a point in time where we declare Windows 10 done and that will be a release that’s ready for a mission-critical deployment. We are going to continue to have these mission-critical releases where we commit and say this release is supported for 10 years. But certainly pre-release, between those mission-critical branches, we’re going to be very engaged, trying to learn what customers think.
Q: So this new, more frequent release approach is happening between now and mid-2015, during development and from then on it’s going to be more regular – patches on Tuesday, etc.?
A: The honest answer is we don’t have plans for post mid-2015, to be honest. We’re planning how we’re going to build this release. If it goes well and people like it, we’ll learn that it went well and probably keep doing it. This Insider program is something we’re doing right now, we’re committed to it for the next year and I’m very optimistic that it’s a great way to build software your customers will love. We’ll then go from there.
Q: Did you have to do a big reset? Some think you whiffed it with Windows 8 and you needed a big reset – are you doing that, or is this more of an upgrade?
A: Well we’re bringing together for the first time a lot of products that were not together – we used to have Windows Phone, we used to have Windows, Xbox, (Windows) Embedded. So when you bring all these together sometimes people perceive that change as being a reset in any one of those areas. But the challenge for us has been how do we bring forward the best and what’s really special about each of those products but create a product family between them. Not one product in any way has a reset but when you bring these things together and bring out what’s best there’s change.
Q: It’s hard to do a consolidation like that and introduce new products at the same time, right?
A: It’s been a fun year.