Gates, Ballmer preview Windows 7: Multi-Touch and a Dock; Steve Jobs must be so proud

Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher spoke with Microsoft’s Disinterested Figurehead Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer at this year’s D conference last evening:

AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski provides notes. Here are a few excerpts:

Mossberg: What about Vista and the lousy reception it’s been given. Is Vista a failure?
Ballmer: Vista is not a failure. Is it something we’d like to improve? Of course. Is it something that with 20/20 hindsight we’d do differently? Sure, he confesses. But Vista has sold a lot of copies, he adds.

MacDailyNews Take: To clueless Best Buy shoppers guided by ignorant USA Today articles. They did not choose Vista, they don’t know any better. Most Windows users don’t even know what an OS is, much less choose one. Most Mac users, on the other hand, have tried to use Windows (at work and/or school) and have chosen Macintosh for a reason.

Walt jumps in and asks about the percentage of Vista sales that result in downgrades to XP. Ballmer dodges. Gates looking a little depressed.
Walt asks if Vista has damaged with Windows brand.
Gates says Microsoft’s philosophy is to “do things better.” And Vista has given us lots of opportunity to do that, he notes. (Audience laughter.) There are plenty of lessons out of Vista–compatibility and other issues vendors are concerned about.
Ballmer says that according to consumer research, the No. 1 complaint about Vista was the change to the Windows user interface.

MacDailyNews Take: And so, in their finite wisdom, they’re about to change the upside-down and backwards Mac WIndows user interface again with Windows 7. Read on:

Paczkowski notes, “We’re about to get a Windows 7 demo (Oh, one more thing …. Here’s hoping Microsoft shares only those aspects of the new OS that it doesn’t end up de-featuring at a later date.) Ballmer says what we’re about to see is ‘just a snippet’ of Windows 7.”

Paczkowski writes, “Windows 7, like other Microsoft OS’s before it, seems to have borrowed a thing or two from Mac OS X. This time it’s Apple’s Dock, which Microsoft appears to have borrowed. Multi-touch and a Dock. In Windows. Steve Jobs must be so proud.”

MacDailyNews Take: Some things never change. Unless Apple does. Then everything changes. Microsoft’s OS, the music business, the smartphone and wireless industries…

Microsoft’s Julie Larson-Green conducts the WIndows 7 demo. Paczkowski notes, “Larson-Green pulls up a brand new app, “Touchable Paint.” She uses all 10 fingers to draw a tree. Then, she brings up a photo gallery. Noting that multi-touch makes it faster and easier to manipulate photos, she demonstrates … well, she demonstrates a lot of features that anyone who’s ever used an iPhone will already be familiar with: two-finger zoom, flicking through a slideshow, single finger panning through thumbnails… Walt asks if multi-touch is built throughout the OS. Larson-Green says it is.”

Walt asks Ballmer if he’s worried about the next iteration of Mac OS X, which will likely be released before Windows 7. Is there a risk that the work you’re doing now with multi-touch will look dated when Apple (AAPL) releases its next OS?
Ballmer says he’s confident Microsoft will have fantastic Windows 7 PCs, regardless of what Apple’s got on the market.

Walt presses him, noting Apple’s recent growth in the PC market.
Ballmer notes the difference in scale between the two companies: “We sell 270 millions PCs a year, and Apple sells 10 million. They’re fantastically successful, and so are we.”

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft sells zero (0) PCs a year. Apple sells 10 million more personal computers per year than Microsoft. Apple created the personal computer as we know it today. Microsoft copied/stole it. If you want to count faulty, Red Ring of Death, sound-like-a-hurricane-in-your-living-room Xboxes as “Microsoft PCs,” you’re desperately grasping at straws. Please stop reading now and head on over to Dell.com to begin configuring your next POS.

Walt hits on Windows quality issue, noting that he’s seen old Macs running significantly faster than new Vista machines.
Ballmer admits there’s room for improvement: Steve Jobs has a great business, he says. His model works well. But so does ours. 10 million people like his model. 290 million like ours.

MacDailyNews Take: 290? We thought it was 270? In less than 5 minutes, Balmy sold 20 million more nonexistent PCs in his mind. Anyway, most of those 290 million never made a choice because they have no idea there even is a choice. They were stuck with Windows at work or school and therefore consigned themselves to Windows PC purgatory because “that’s what they use at work/school.” Fortunately thousands of people awaken with each passing day. Of the now 300 million total, about 10 million people per year have used both; they choose Macs for a reason. And, by the way, the installed base for Mac OS X is approximately 25 million users, not the 10 million Ballmer is trying to insinuate (notice that he dropped the “per year?” We did.) 25 million users LOVE Steve Jobs’ model, the rest don’t know any better.

Kara asks Gates how it feels to have Microsoft defined by Apple via its “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” campaign.
Gates clearly isn’t happy with that question. Dodges. Ballmer jumps in. Hits that 290 million metric again. “Every share point Apple picks up is a share point we don’t like. But we like selling 290 million units.”

MacDailyNews Take: Ballmer’s delusional. Microsoft sells zero (0) PCs a year. Most Mac users have made conscious technology choice and are therefore better informed than the vast majority of Windows sufferers.

Much more in the full article, including a video of the Windows 7 demo and photos of Kermit and Monkey Boy on stage with Mossberg and Swisher here.

MacDailyNews Take: To find out which of the cool iPhone features has been patented by Apple and are now protected from replication and which ones you can expect to be copied soon by the likes of Nokia, Samsung or Motorola, we’ve combed through the U.S. Patent and Trademark database and checked all relevant Apple’s patents.

And we came to a conclusion that this time Steve Jobs did his homework and most of the key features that make iPhone an iPhone will not be easily copied by competitors. This applies to Multi touch display, the idea to use full screen of the device for User Interface, scrolling, zooming and other finger gestures, soft on screen controls, multifunctionality, proximity, ambient light sensors and many other functions.

When Steve Jobs exclaimed [in front of a slide displaying “200+ patents” during Macworld Expo 2007’s iPhone-dominated] keynote, “And boy have we patented it!” it was not an empty boast. The have indeed PATENTED it. And though not all of the claims have received patent protection yet and even less of them may withstand scrutiny in court if Apple decides to enforce them, many of the claims should should stick.Unwired View, May 2007

132 Comments

  1. Wow, after looking at the demo, I just feel sad for these guys. Their old winning strategy of just coming up with a cheap copy of the Mac is so doomed and yet they cling to it like a railing on the Titanic.

  2. Why is it that the “more is better” approach dominates American culture? The whole 270 million vs. 10 million things is just stupid. 270 million computers is not “better” it’s just “more”.

    Steve Ballmer is a friggin idiot.

    And I just recently watched that video clip where he was sweating like a pig on stage, ranting and raving about developers…

    Why does he get paid as much as he does? If he’s the face of Microsoft’s future, nobody should worry in the slightest. One word for ya…”meds”

    As in, he’s on ’em and he needed ’em that day.

  3. Hey folks! Hummer is back. I’m not going to make my joke about him needing a hummer as I did yesterday because that post got deleted.

    D’oooohhh! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”shut eye” style=”border:0;” />

  4. Bill and Steve did a rather admirable job defending their innovations and success in the face of Mossberg and Swisher’s vicious attacks—most likely planted by you-know-who in Cupertino. You MAC losers have to be disappointed they didn’t take the bait when patently false and inflated statements about Apple’s me-too business were injected into the conversation. C’mon, even you MAC sheep had to find the Apple bias sickening.

    Great job, guys! Way to take the high road, but we always knew Microsoft was about class. And one more thing, Microsoft sells way more gear than Apple, and that’s what really matters. Ballmer gets it. I don’t know why you MAC-tards don’t get it.

    Your potential. Our passion.™

  5. Dear Hummer, that’s why Lexus, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche make so much money while not selling as many cars as Ford or Chevy, Discerning buyers buy what they want not what lemmings can afford. This comparison is even more relevant now as all the US is upset over its dominant but falling market share. Microsoft sells it’s OS for Geos. Apples sells its OS on the Lexus, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche of computers. Even Chevy drivers would buy a higher end car if they could afford it. Come to think of it Apples BMW computer is no more expensive than most Geos running Microslop. Maybe one’s taste is in their mouth.

  6. When was the last time Jobs had to answer a question by saying “_______ is not a failure.”?

    Oh I remember. It was when he was talking about the Apple TV. He admitted Apple didn’t get right on 1.0. Then he gave us movie rentals and upgraded mine for free!

  7. Multi-Touch is great in theory. The difference is that Apple have designed and built devices specifically designed for it, devices that are on sale now. Apple have designed a UI for their OS that is designed for Touch, something with a traditional desktop environment (Mac OS X) is not.

    Just shoe-horning the ability to finger paint, make ripples on the screen and play around with pictures is a gimmick. A cool gimmick, but not something that works as part of an OS that people will be using for large periods of the day, every day for both work and pleasure.

    In contrast, as well as the iPhone and iPod Touch, Apple are also selling computers right now that have various multi-touch elements included. Limited ones, ones that don’t offer any new functionality, but ones that are seamless, ones that work as well as if not better than traditional methods. They’re not screen based but they work.

    Look at the difficulties of adding resolution independence to OS X. Screen based Multi-Touch is a huge shift in the way computers are interacted with, everything needs to be rethought. I’m pretty confident we won’t see it system-wide in Mac OS 10.6. I am confident that we’ll increasingly see it in Apple devices though. The iPhone and iPod will continue using it and the SDK will create a new world of Multi-touch purposed applications, ones that don’t rely on the traditional methods of interaction. In time the iPhone will probably scale up to encompass a tablet or small laptop and begin to replace the traditional Desktop environment and the traditional Desktop environment will add multi-touch where it fits well – Coverflow being a prime example – but it won’t be done in the way MS are hoping it will with Windows 7. How is their touch going to work with a word processor? How will it be any better than what we already have?

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