Rory Cellan-Jones discussed Microsoft Windows 7 with Sian Williams and Bill Turnbull, the presenters of BBC Breakfast this morning. Once again the BBC reporting of Microsoft products turns into a bit of an advert combined with a slap in the face at the end from Rory to those people working on Free Software. My comments at the bottom.
Sian Williams: “Thank you very much Carol. More on Windows in just a moment, we’re rebooting, it’s got a new operating system and Rory Cellan-Jones will be here to test it”
Bill Turnbull: “First though, Simon, and more on that postal strike”
Simon in the studio, is having microphone problems. After a few moments Sian suggests that Simon fix his mic. Discussion of what they’ll do in the mean time including paper review and going straight to Rory.
SW: “Because Rory is still trying to reboot the Windows sytem…”
SW: “We’re talking about Microsoft Windows. At midnight the latest version comes out. It’s called Windows 7, it’s faster says Microsoft, and it also lets you use a touch screen computer.”
BT: “Well the success of the PC operating system is hugely important for the future of Microsoft because its prior version – Vista – got dismal reviews.”
SW: “Our Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones is here and he’s had the system for a week, and we had a little panic, but it’s all back and working”
RCJ: “You were going to be looking at a blank screen because I’m a Technology Correspondent therefore I have a few issues with technology”
RCJ: “Here it is. This is the touch screen version of a new operating system. The big selling point is that it’s supposed to be simpler, quicker, not such a big chunky heavy thing as Windows Vista, which as you said was a bit of a disaster”
RCJ holds up a boxed copy of Windows Vista.
RCJ: “Lots of people installed this then found various things didn’t work, their printers stopped working and so on. What Microsoft say is that this time we’ve learned our lesson, we’ve spoken to people, we’ve worked out what they want, and what people want is for things to work.”
RCJ: “So this is the touch screen version as I said, you can move various windows around, you can go to the start button down there to start things. Usual range of programs, I’ve been playing with it for a week and it seems to does what it says on the tin, it seems to be pretty efficient. But I think if you’re a very loyal windows person you’ll want it, if you’re not, perhaps you won’t.”
BT: “It does all the sorts of things that you’ve been able to get on an iTouch or iPhone, the Mac machines for some time.”
RCJ: “Well what you can do on an iPhone yes, not what you can do… what I’ve got here by chance is a a Mac computer. They will say their system, this (pointing at the Sony computer running Windows 7) has learned a lot from that (pointing at a Macbook Air running OSX). It doesn’t yet have touch screen capabilities, an actual Mac computer. But there are lots of other operating systems out there, but the key fact is that Windows is used by about 90% of the worlds computer users so it’s very important to them. ”
SW: “In the end you want it to work, work quickly and for all the applications to work. The touch screen thing, how many people will be buying a Windows system wanting the touch screen.”
RCJ: “It’s a gimmick isn’t it. It’s quite a fun gimmick”
RCJ tries 3 times to move a Window using the touch interface, and fails
RCJ: “It’s a bit of a flavour of the future of computing. There’s a lot of research going on saying that these things the mouse has a limited shelf life, will be redundant. In a few years time we’ll be moving things around the computer by wiggling our ears a Microsoft engineer told me yesterday. There will be new ways of interacting with them and this is just a staging post, but in the mean time you’re absolutely right people want to be confident that everything they normally do will work with the new system.”
BT: “If you’ve got a computer though and it’s not touch screen do you need this? Will this new program work for you?”
RCJ: “Lets be clear it’s not really about touch screen, that’s an added bell and whistle. Yes, it will work, and the key thing for Microsoft whereas vista didn’t work on this whole new range of small computers people are using – netbooks – this is a slimmed down version designed to run on those little computers too.”
SL : “Where does Windows stand with Apple in terms of competition and how many they sell?”
RCJ: “Well, Apple has been growing fast, has growing it’s market share, but from a tiny tiny base. I think it was 3% a few years ago in the states at least it’s doubled to 6%, a bit less than that. Of course it’s right at the luxury end of the market, you’re going to pay a lot more for an Apple in general than for a computer running WIndows.”
RCJ: “But what it has done is kind of wound Microsofts pride. It’s not really seen as cool anymore by the majority of computer users.”
BT: “There are other operating systems you can get for nothing.”
RCJ: “Absolutely, I was just showing one off here. There’s something called ‘Ubuntu’ which is launched next week. It’s a whole sort of little community of enthusiasts building operating systems for absolutely nothing and trying to persuade us that we don’t need to be in with the big boys but actually most computer users frankly they don’t want to bother with that sort of stuff they want something that’s there…”
BT: “..that everyone else uses..”
SW: “Vista came out three years ago and as you say it wasn’t very well received, and a lot of people went back to XP. Those people who are still on XP now, are they likely to go with the new version, should they go with the new version, does it offer much more?”
RCJ: “It does offer a lot more, but I think people will be cautious. What sensible people do is sit around a bit see what happens to other people, see how secure it is, and there will be updates, there are inevitably updates, very swiftly when you bring out a new system. You see the sort of hiccups you iron them out, and I think a lot of people will wait to see what happens.”
BT: “Can we touch it yet”
RCJ: “You can touch it, but you did break it”
A few points that came to mind:-
- I don’t recall such a review of OSX Snow Leopard when it came out, BBC biased towards Microsoft?
- Will there be a similar review of other OS releases this month/year such as Ubuntu and others?
- Why focus so much on the touch elements if most computers don’t have a touch screen and it’s a ‘gimmick’. Perhaps it just makes good telly, even if it’s somewhat misguided
- No mention of the pain users will have upgrading
- No mention of the cost
- No mention of the fact that OSX is cheaper, instead focussing on the cost of Apple hardware. Isn’t this an OS review, not a hardware review. I’d bet that Sony touch screen Rory used isn’t exactly cheap
- ‘little community’ building Free Software you say Rory? Dismissive and unnecessarily Patronising
- ‘don’t want to bother with that sort of stuff’. I find many users don’t want to ‘bother’ with viruses, malware and broken software, but they do, on Windows
- Ubuntu isn’t ‘out next week’. The latest version is. Ubuntu has been around for 5 years (this week). What we’re doing is no different to Microsoft shipping a new release of Windows, and Apple shipping a new OSX. It just so happens ours is free
Rory, please feel free to come along to the Ubuntu Release Party next Thursday 29th in London, and you can meet some of the great people who help put Ubuntu together.
Update: Whoops, Sian Willams, not Sian Lloyd. Apologies Sian, thanks Dave. Gah, sorry Bill, got that wrong too..