ANAHEIM, Calif. — Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage this morning at Build, the company’s conference for independent developers, quoting excited assessments from yesterday’s unveiling of the Windows 8 developer preview. There have already been 500,000 downloads off the website of Windows 8, he said.
“It’s really, really gratifying to see and hear, but there’s still a lot of work to do,” he said.
In the broader sense, he said, “if Windows 8 is Windows re-imagined … we’re also in the process of re-imagining Microsoft.”
This “re-imagining” is happening around four main themes, he said: new hardware form factors, cloud services, new application scenarios, and new forms of developer opportunities.
Developments in each of those areas are shifting the company’s direction, but all the shifts are going to be centered on Windows, he said, adding that Windows 8 is only one form of re-imagining Windows, and the changes also involve Windows Live, Windows Phone, Windows Server and Windows Azure.
This year, there will be 350 million devices shipped featuring Windows, he said, adding that there was no other device on the planet sold that would match those numbers. That’s combined with the at least 500 million PCs that can be upgraded to Windows 8, Ballmer said in exhorting the developers to work on apps for Windows.
“Let’s move forward together and let’s seize the opportunity for developers, developers, developers,” he concluded.
Here’s what else happened during this morning’s keynote:
9 a.m.: Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft’s Server and Tools business, takes the stage, saying the focus of today’s keynote will be on Visual Studio, Windows Azure (Microsoft’s cloud computing platform) and Windows Server 8. The talks will focus on the back-end of building new Metro-user interface-style applications for Windows 8, using Visual Studio on a device running on Windows Server 8, that takes it to the cloud, that then allows the app to reach multiple devices.
9:05: Jason Zander, corporate vice president for Visual Studio, takes the stage, giving a demo of writing code on Visual Studio and using Windows Azure.
9:20: Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president for Server and Tools Business, gives a demo of how to build a Web app with asp.net using Visual Studio 11. That app can then be deployed to any Windows 8 server or Windows Azure, he said.
9:35: Zander comes back to talk about Visual Studio Team Foundation Service.
9:40: Nadella announces that the developer preview of Windows Server 8 is being unveiled today. “This is one of the broadest, deepest releases of Windows Server,” he says, and will allow users to share sessions, apps, desktops and virtual machines, while still making sure there’s good control for IT administrators.
9:45: Bryon Surace, a senior program manager on the Windows Virtualization team, talks about new features and services in Windows Server 8 including in storage, networking and virtualization.
10:00: John Shewchuk, a Microsoft technical fellow, talks about Windows Azure Access Control, which helps manage the complexities of access control.
10:08: Nadella announces developments, including the expansion of Windows Azure Marketplace to 25 additional countries.
10:10: Microsoft’s Jeff Sandquist and Dan Fernandez give some real-world examples of continuous service, including a car-location application. They bring on stage Ryan Friedlinghaus, founder and CEO of West Coast Customs, which “builds cool cars,” including those for Justin Bieber and Paris Hilton, according to Friedlinghaus. They talk about a Discovery Network reality show they’ll all be participating in, building a custom Mustang, complete with heads-up displays with Kinect and other Microsoft features.
10:25: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer takes the stage.