Microsoft talks more about Metro, Ribbon and Media Center in Windows 8

Microsoft is cranking out the updates for its Windows 8 blog site pretty quickly. On Thursday, Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky wrote about how Microsoft is responding to general feedback about the next update to its long running PC operating system. Today Sinofsky's latest, and very extensive, blog post goes into even more detail on the kind of feedback Microsoft has gotten from the public on some specific aspects of Windows 8.

One of them is the "ribbon" user interface that's being used by Windows 8's Explorer feature. Sinofsky says, "We chose the ribbon mechanism, and to those that find that a flawed choice, there isn’t much we can do other than disagree. We were certain, and this proved out, that the dislike of the ribbon is most intense in the audience of this blog. Said dislike, we assumed, would produce a high level of commentary, much the way some topics during Windows 7 blogging did. That assumption was correct." He admits that changes to the UI are still being made, saying, "We have work to do as we continue to refine the way we have organized commands and what commands we should organize (map network drive, powershell), as well as the default settings and graphical treatment. We are actively considering the feedback in this regard. We share the goal in having a clean user experience. We also have the goal of making sure people can get done the things they do want to get done."

On the subject of the Metro version of Windows 8's UI, Sinofsky says, "A lot of this discussion will depend ultimately on what Metro comes to mean for folks. As we looked at Metro style for Windows 8, as we talked about in an earlier post, we see much more than a more monochrome set of visuals and fewer controls (when there are fewer commands). We see a new platform, a reimagining of Windows. For Windows 8, Metro style means a new type of app—an app that learns from and improves upon the current (and most popular) platform." He adds, "We said the desktop is like an app in Windows 8—you can use it or not, as much or as little as you want. Some have said 'it feels jarring' to go to the desktop. My perspective is that it is no more or less jarring that switching between any other apps if you embrace diversity or experiences that are built for a specific task or purpose."

Sinofsky also talks a bit about Media Center which he says will "definitely" be a feature in Windows 8. He adds, "Knowing how strong the support for Media Center is among pre-release testers, we still have work to do to make sure the quality and compatibility with add-ins is what you would expect even in pre-release." However, Sinofsky says that the first pre-release versions of Windows 8 won't have Media Center enabled along with DVD Creator, Windows 7 games and more. He also reveals that just 6 percent of all Windows 7 users worldwide launch Windows Media Center.

Of course, more info on Windows 8 will be revealed when Microsoft hold its BUILD conference later this month. Sinofsky says, "We’re focused on BUILD and making sure we do a great job showing off the work we’ve done, and are definitely excited to continue the dialogue. I look forward to those conversations in person at BUILD and here on the blog as well."

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