Windows CFO: "Not enough" Windows 8 touch screen PCs

The departure of Steven Sinofsky from Microsoft as the leader of the Windows division earlier this month also meant that the company got two new leaders in his place.

Julie Larson-Green has taken over as the head of both Windows software and hardware development. The other is Tami Reller. She was already in place as the chief financial officer and chief marketing officer for Windows, but Microsoft said that Sinofsky's exit would give Reller even more responsibilities.

This week, Reller made her first public comments since Sinofsky's departure when she addressed the Credit Suisse Annual Technology Conference 2012 earlier this week. Microsoft has now posted the transcript of that address online on its investor website.

During the Q&A session following Reller's remarks, she was asked about how the Windows division will move on after Sinofsky's departure. Reller said:

One is, we'll miss -- I will miss Steven. I will miss working with him on a daily basis. And one of his strong philosophies is that any organization and any system that has to deliver something as big as Windows absolutely needs to be able to live past any one leader, or really any one small set of leaders. And so that philosophy is really part of the DNA of the organization.

Reller said the Windows team "... is in great, great shape. And so I think transitions are always somewhat of a challenge, but I think that timing-wise it's a reasonable time and the team is busy."

When asked about the relatively low amounts of new Windows 8 PCs on the market that don't use touch screens, Reller said:

So, I would describe it this way, which is if you go into retail today, you will see some great touch devices, whether it's touch laptops, or whether it's a tablet or two with Windows 8 or Windows RT. It's not enough in our opinion. I mean, we think the pipeline is great, and we're excited to see that pipeline come into retail. And they are coming. And so our OEMs are doing great work, and we'll see that come in over the next several months. Some you'll see in December, some it will take longer. But I think it's good, but not great in terms of the full touch assortment.

Source: Microsoft Investor website | Image via Microsoft

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It's obvious many here hjave never use a Touchsmart PC. They are awesome. Problem Windows Vista and 7 didnt have touch ui's untilo HP made an overlay. Whats great about 8 is the overlay is built into the core and it doesnt drag the OS down. No lag on my desktop sporting its Q6700.....WOOOT WOOOOT....

I agree, the selection, displays, and good customer service left me pretty disappointed when I ventured out last weekend. I think MicroCenter was the only one that gave it anything approaching effort. BBuy was still just pushing iPads (pretty depressing what's happened to the 'Computer' area).

Nothing worse than walking down the short isle and trying to figure out which ones are touch either. Most labeling was on a small spec sidecard on the machines themselves, if at all.

When you bet so much on new hardware, it doesn't help that the Surface is rare and most of the lazy attempts customers will first encounter won't exactly wow them. It just gives the customer that 'they tried' vibe.

Edited by Dashel, Nov 30 2012, 5:16am :

Touch screens - the Nickleback of the IT world. Lets cut the crap and simply admit that outside a few niche scenarios the average person prefers using a mouse, keyboard, touchpad and quite frankly all the usability studies show that beyond demonstrations the simple fact of the matter is that touch screens are impractical.

If Microsoft think that touch screens are going to 'save them' or 'given them a competitive advantage' then it appears that they're marketing something that most people aren't interested in when it comes to their laptops, desktops and workstations. I for one am happy with my mouse and keyboard - the vast majority of end users I know believe the same so who are they pandering to other than speculative shareholders looking for the next hype bandwagon to attach themselves to?

All Windows 8 PCs should (optionally in the case of desktops) ship with large multi-touch trackpads much like Apple is doing. It's a great middle ground where you can still utilize Windows 8's touch capabilities, without the problem of an awkwardly positioned vertical screen and smudges. Not to mention it's most likely a cheaper alternative too, making it available to more people.

Except trackpads are still just sub-par mice and all little to a touch UI which expects a finger to land on the target and the swipe-ins assuming you are holding the device.

Touch is touch. If you can deal with a smudgy iPad, whats the difference? I don't see how a touchscreen is awkward in its intended limited duration use when seated.

Playing Angry Bird on an iMac with trackpad really isn't much different from the experience on an iPad. It does all the multi-touch commands an iPad does. For precision work you're going to want a mouse instead of using touch period, so things aren't any different from a trackpad there either. If you don't understand how a vertical touch screen might be awkward when doing multi-touch or when using it for any prolonged period of time (especially on a desktop screen) I have very few things left to discuss.

PS I hate the smudges on my iPhone and Nexus 7. It would hate it even more on my iMac where I do video editing.

Edited by .Neo, Nov 30 2012, 6:00am :

Even with Angry Birds you lose a fair amount of the immersion by not being 'on' the screen. While the finger flicking motion may be the same, you still aren't 'touching the UI' anymore. Touch never replaces, only augments. I specifically noted that when seated, it will only ever be for limited and brief use.

I'm sure there will be enough if you give them out for free
Pretty good here without touch, I just stay mostly in the Desktop app.

I can't believe people have such blind hatred from MS that they can't even understand simple sentences.
She is obviously not talking about desktop pc's, although you have all these nice all-in-one pc's that could benefit from touch, but about laptops and tablets.

And she is right, I haven't bought a new pc because the new options are not that great yet, i'm waiting for some nicer devices before I buy. I did buy the Win8 upgrade though

Please, everone wants to touch there pc. Do you know now that I have a surface that I am constantly trying to touch the 40inch 1080p tv I got connected to my laptop as well as every other pc I go on. My future, xbox tv on a 65 inch touch plasma.

Golly gee! She is disappointed that more people are not trashing perfectly good hardware just to get a screen to smudge up with finger tips? She really is out of touch with the real world--read economically depressed with people having much more important things on which to spend money.

TsarNikky said,
Golly gee! She is disappointed that more people are not trashing perfectly good hardware just to get a screen to smudge up with finger tips? She really is out of touch with the real world--read economically depressed with people having much more important things on which to spend money.

People trash perfectly good hardware every time Apple decides that they no longer want to support it. Every year a new landfill is opened to hold Mac Books, ipods, and iPhones because that device you bought a few years ago cannot hold their bloated software. But we should be happy to upgrade those devices, because it adds a few billion to App£€'s bottom line.

Why do people always get offended when mentioning touch capabilities on the pc (i.e. desktop), wasnt that always a nerdgasm for all of us in the past, and now when the day has finally come all I hear is "oh noes I ain't touching my screen, thats for iSheep"
Don't think of it as dumbing down, but rather as an extension of an already versatile machine!

Tyrion12 said,
Why do people always get offended when mentioning touch capabilities on the pc (i.e. desktop), wasnt that always a nerdgasm for all of us in the past, and now when the day has finally come all I hear is "oh noes I ain't touching my screen, thats for iSheep"
Don't think of it as dumbing down, but rather as an extension of an already versatile machine!

The thing is this person wasn't even talking about desktop computers but tablets and laptops which sit in your lap! People are just so dumb and will complain about anything to do with Windows 8.

I don't care for touch on my desktop and I still use Windows 8 on it. I stick to the desktop UI all the time on there but that is something it was designed to be able to do!

how about no?... I don't want to sit at my desk with my arms in the air all day... resting them on a desk is way more comfortable... I'd be crying by the end of work if I had to touch and touch screen type at my desk.. because my arms would be in pain after 8 hours of that

neufuse said,
how about no?... I don't want to sit at my desk with my arms in the air all day... resting them on a desk is way more comfortable... I'd be crying by the end of work if I had to touch and touch screen type at my desk.. because my arms would be in pain after 8 hours of that

Are you really this dense? I'll repeat the quote for you.

"So, I would describe it this way, which is if you go into retail today, you will see some great touch devices, whether it's touch laptops, or whether it's a tablet or two with Windows 8 or Windows RT. It's not enough in our opinion. "

They're talking about laptops and tablets and it's pretty obvious

neufuse said,
how about no?... I don't want to sit at my desk with my arms in the air all day... resting them on a desk is way more comfortable... I'd be crying by the end of work if I had to touch and touch screen type at my desk.. because my arms would be in pain after 8 hours of that

What idiocy makes you think people are talking about sitdown workstations with no mouse and keyboard and just a touch monitor? If you put up with that its your own fault.

mrp04 said,

Are you really this dense? I'll repeat the quote for you.

"So, I would describe it this way, which is if you go into retail today, you will see some great touch devices, whether it's touch laptops, or whether it's a tablet or two with Windows 8 or Windows RT. It's not enough in our opinion. "

They're talking about laptops and tablets and it's pretty obvious

I know what it says, I am saying that I don't want to see touch screens on desktop PC's how hard is it to deduce that?

neufuse said,

I know what it says, I am saying that I don't want to see touch screens on desktop PC's how hard is it to deduce that?


Its easy. They are saying you're dense for implying that's part of the quote/story.

neufuse said,
how about no?... I don't want to sit at my desk with my arms in the air all day... resting them on a desk is way more comfortable... I'd be crying by the end of work if I had to touch and touch screen type at my desk.. because my arms would be in pain after 8 hours of that

I feel sorry for you, so weak and frail that moving you arm out a little to touch a monitor is so tiring. You may want to join a gym, try working out a little. If you are that weak that you cannot touch a screen, then you should be a lite less concerned about an OS and more worried about your general health.

yowanvista said,
This is plain stupid, a PC isn't a Tablet.

Microsoft, it appears hasn't figured that out. Windows-8 for tablets. Windows-7 for PCs. Any surprise of the mess that has developed?

yowanvista said,
This is plain stupid, a PC isn't a Tablet.

Mine is.

TsarNikky said,

Microsoft, it appears hasn't figured that out. Windows-8 for tablets. Windows-7 for PCs. Any surprise of the mess that has developed?

Windows 8 works great on my desktop. You're not forced to use the new UI other than the full screen start menu, which lets me access more things with less clicks than the old tiny one.

TsarNikky said,

Microsoft, it appears hasn't figured that out. Windows-8 for tablets. Windows-7 for PCs. Any surprise of the mess that has developed?

Have you actually used Windows 8 on a desktop or are you just saying Windows 7 is better because that's all you know?

yowanvista said,
This is plain stupid, a PC isn't a Tablet.

PC is a stupidly broad term that a lot of people stupidly limit to a single form factor. You're clearly whining about one form factor vs. another. Here's the thing:

Form factors change. The desktop paradigm is stale and uninteresting. It's considered necessary because it's where "work gets done", as if getting work done at a PC hinges on the display being in a particular place at a particular angle and a particular distance from a particular set of input devices at a particular style of desk, and to stray from this particular combination of variables means you can no longer achieve the same level of productivity.

This is, of course, indefensibly stupid. It's stupid when people argue that what PC stands for is less important than the paradigm to which it is presently applied. It's stupid when people fall into a pit of believing we've somehow achieved the pinnacle of form for using a type of technology. It's stupid to think the desktop is what it is and has no room for any other method of input, and it's stupid to get *angry* when software stretches out and sees what happens when it takes advantage of new hardware.

Technological progress is experimentation and compromise. If this ticks you off, then you don't really care about tech, and odds are you've never contributed anything to it, either.

I'd find it pretty touch to reach out and touch my monitor when it's sitting 15 feet away.
She thinks there's not enough... well maybe Microsoft should have made more. Why is it someone else's fault?

LUTZIFER said,
I'd find it pretty touch to reach out and touch my monitor when it's sitting 15 feet away.
She thinks there's not enough... well maybe Microsoft should have made more. Why is it someone else's fault?

Are you trying to be funny or are you just stupid? Obviously you won't be touching a TV or projector screen 15 feet away, but that laptop sitting on your lap? Yeah, why not?

LUTZIFER said,
I'd find it pretty touch to reach out and touch my monitor when it's sitting 15 feet away.

"Look at me! I'm an edge case! I matter!"

Hey guys when you're looking at porn its a lot easier to skip scene with a finger than finding the mouse. Just be carefull not to take the dirty hand!

Mike Depo said,
Hey guys when you're looking at porn its a lot easier to skip scene with a finger than finding the mouse. Just be carefull not to take the dirty hand!

I don't use a mouse. I use a wireless touchpad.

Mike Depo said,
Hey guys when you're looking at porn its a lot easier to skip scene with a finger than finding the mouse. Just be carefull not to take the dirty hand!

What if both are dirty?

offroadaaron said,

What if both are dirty?

Then you're probably finished. Tap the video with the tip of your nose to pause while you go wash your hands.

warwagon said,
Who wants to touch their monitor?

No kidding. Aside from the fact that I barely sit close enough to mine to even reach it, I still don't want smudges and smears all over it.

warwagon said,
Who wants to touch their monitor?

I can think of a billion times a day I'd like a touch monitor. Mostly things like when I'm working on one monitor with my mouse and I need to launch another application. I'd rather reach up with my left hand and tap the screen than mouse over across 2 or 3 monitors.

It would also be really handy with some of the CAD and 3D simulators I use. I often have a design piece taking up a main monitor and then a bunch of tool windows floating on another screen because I need the real estate to get into fine details.

Lord Method Man said,

No kidding. Aside from the fact that I barely sit close enough to mine to even reach it, I still don't want smudges and smears all over it.

She clearly referred to touch laptops and tablets and really, unless you are a dunce a desktop with a touch monitor is not the ideal use case being promoted here but with devices like laptops and tablets that are far closer and easier to touch so unless your arms are only a few inches long its virtually no effort to hit the touchscreen now and then.


You haters really should start coming up with more original complaints, this one is ancient.

warwagon said,
Who wants to touch their monitor?

Lots of people. I touch my tablet PC's monitor all the time. My parents love their tablet PCs (my old ones) and use the touch functionality quite a bite.

If no one wanted to touch their monitors then tablets wouldn't have taken off at such a huge pace.

mrp04 said,

Lots of people. I touch my tablet PC's monitor all the time. My parents love their tablet PCs (my old ones) and use the touch functionality quite a bite.

If no one wanted to touch their monitors then tablets wouldn't have taken off at such a huge pace.

To me "Monitor" refers to an external screen. Tablets and laptop have screens built in not external monitors.

warwagon said,
Who wants to touch their monitor?

A computer without a touch screen is an archaic device; one that is ill-equipped to run modern Windows apps. I can safely say I will never buy another computer in my lifetime that doesn't have a touch screen. In fact a television set is probably the only electronic device I will buy in the next decade that won't have a touch screen. Even the printers I've purchased in the last few years came with touch screens. My Harmony remote control has a touch screen. And the next generation game consoles are going to come with tablets and motion controls to make up for the lack of touch screen on a TV.

Avatar Roku said,

A computer without a touch screen is an archaic device; one that is ill-equipped to run modern Windows apps. I can safely say I will never buy another computer in my lifetime that doesn't have a touch screen. In fact a television set is probably the only electronic device I will buy in the next decade that won't have a touch screen. Even the printers I've purchased in the last few years came with touch screens. My Harmony remote control has a touch screen. And the next generation game consoles are going to come with tablets and motion controls to make up for the lack of touch screen on a TV.

what you don't seem to understand is many of us use a computer like a tv, from far back. I've no desire to reach out and touch my 24" monitor, what purpose would it serve really... (at least for what i do) have a tablet too btw just talking about desktops here...

Lord Method Man said,

No kidding. Aside from the fact that I barely sit close enough to mine to even reach it, I still don't want smudges and smears all over it.

I have always upgraded my pc every couple months or sell it and build a new one until I seen a HP Touchsmart and came happy with everything for the first time, Great build quality (I ordered it not a Wal-Mart one) and using Multitouch Apps on Windows Vista, Windows 7 and now with Windows 8. I never see smudges unless the monitor is off and light is at a weird angle, I clean it once ever other month with Windex. One other thing is just because it has a touch screen doesn't mean that you are restricted to using it all the time but games like Cut the Rope, Fruit Ninja, Slot Games, Being able to use a paintbrush with a paint program make up for the 2 minutes that I have glanced and seen a smudge in the last 4 almost 5 years I have had this.

warwagon said,
Who wants to touch their monitor?

if someone would touch my IPS monitor that I do photo work on, i would cut off their finger.

Som said,

what you don't seem to understand is many of us use a computer like a tv, from far back. I've no desire to reach out and touch my 24" monitor, what purpose would it serve really... (at least for what i do) have a tablet too btw just talking about desktops here...

I have a 25" multitouch enabled monitor, and I touch it all the time. Sure, I use the mouse most of the time time, but there are plenty of times when it's much more convenient to use touch.

It's not about replacing the keyboard and mouse. It's about using touch when appropriate.

mrdeezus said,

Everyone.

No one.
I've had a touch monitor for maybe 7 years - never used it. Threw it in the bin last week.

dvb2000 said,

No one.
I've had a touch monitor for maybe 7 years - never used it. Threw it in the bin last week.

Just because you haven't used yours, doesn't mean everybody else should be denied the opportunity to have one, if the want to.
A touchscreen monitor would be good for the kitchen or other such areas. Plus, it's not that hard to wipe fingerprints off it when you want to use it for work.

rfirth said,

It's not about replacing the keyboard and mouse. It's about using touch when appropriate.

heh touch when appropriate dirty

Lord Method Man said,

No kidding. Aside from the fact that I barely sit close enough to mine to even reach it, I still don't want smudges and smears all over it.

Well that's you.

efjay said,

She clearly referred to touch laptops and tablets and really, unless you are a dunce a desktop with a touch monitor is not the ideal use case being promoted here but with devices like laptops and tablets that are far closer and easier to touch so unless your arms are only a few inches long its virtually no effort to hit the touchscreen now and then.


You haters really should start coming up with more original complaints, this one is ancient.

You hater haters need to come up with something original rather than blindly thinking touchscreen is better. It has been shown that using touchscreen laptop is way more fatigueing on your arms/hands, and is less productive. No one wants to lift their arms to touch their laptop for hours. Even on a tablet you get the same effect. There is virtually no use for touch on a laptop, and Metro is trash that everyone hates, so no one would want a touchscreen anyway. MS has a severely warped view of reality and market, and they are just trying to change the masses to their ways. Resistance is extremely strong, for very, very good reason. MS has a history of making good things and bad, good ones always get praise, bad ones always get hated, this is life.

Jared Hohman said,

You hater haters need to come up with something original rather than blindly thinking touchscreen is better. It has been shown that using touchscreen laptop is way more fatigueing on your arms/hands, and is less productive. No one wants to lift their arms to touch their laptop for hours. Even on a tablet you get the same effect. There is virtually no use for touch on a laptop, and Metro is trash that everyone hates, so no one would want a touchscreen anyway. MS has a severely warped view of reality and market, and they are just trying to change the masses to their ways. Resistance is extremely strong, for very, very good reason. MS has a history of making good things and bad, good ones always get praise, bad ones always get hated, this is life.

I have a touch based laptop (which I am on right now) that makes me think you've never even used a touch based PC before. Touch is a wonderful technology to augment any system with. Even on a desktop, I really wish I had the dough for a pair of touchscreen monitors, because I would snatch them up in an instant.

The key is to use them at an angle rather than standing up. Your arm doesn't suffer as a result of a more ergonomic position.


And Metro is trash? Really? Well, sorry buddy, but so is the desktop. Take a look at it, and it is nothing but legacy code over written with new code. Poke deep enough, and you'll see some pretty nasty things.