SEATTLE, Wash., Feb. 13, 2001 — Microsoft today unveiled Windows XP, previously code-named
in a press event at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Wash. The event, hosted by Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates and Windows Division Group Vice President Jim Allchin, featured a
at the new visual design and videotaped statements from industry leaders supporting the new operating system.
To find out more about the new home and business computing experiences made possible by Windows XP, PressPass spoke with Microsoft general manager John Frederiksen.
PressPass: After more than half a decade in which the release year served as the product name for most versions of Windows, why the change to
Frederiksen: Windows XP represents a major shift in personal computing, and
best represents this new direction of enabling experiences. With Windows XP, we really focused on simplifying and enhancing end-to-end computing experiences to unlock the power of the PC and allow users to take full advantage of their computers in the easiest possible ways. With Windows XP the power of the PC is extended to devices, Web services and applications to allow users to do more than ever on their computers.
PressPass: In the Windows XP naming announcement last week, Bill Gates said,
“XP marks the beginning of the evolution from applications to experiences.”
Can you explain what that means?
Frederiksen: Windows XP will be the catalyst for the next stage of computing — Windows XP will allow people to begin to enjoy amazing, complete computing experiences that jump across todays boundaries to span applications, devices, services, and the Internet in a very seamless way.
Lets take photography, for example: It is not enough to just get pictures onto your PC. Once they are there you want to be able to alter them, put them on the Web, send them to friends and family, order prints or even just print out copies. Windows XP connects the devices, services and applications together for a rich, seamless experience.
PressPass: Is Windows XP the same kind of
in operating systems as Windows 95, or is it more of an evolutionary change?
Frederiksen: Windows XP is the biggest leap forward since the Windows operating system first shipped. Windows XP will deliver an unprecedented level of dependability to customers with the enhanced Windows 2000 engine. It will unleash a revolutionary set of new experiences around photos, music, communication, mobile computing, help and support, and the connected home that will empower users to utilize their PCs to their full potential in ways that are simpler and easier than ever before.
PressPass: How will computing be different for Windows XP users?
Frederiksen: It all comes back to the experience. People and PCs are capable of amazing things, and Windows XP unlocks the true potential of personal computing. Windows XP provides a seamless computing experience, whether the user is communicating with friends and family or creating, storing and sharing digital memories, or even working remotely. Windows XP also provides improved help and support, exciting entertainment options, and the tools for a more connected home.
PressPass: You talked about photographs earlier. Can you give us some additional examples of the kinds of experiences that Windows XP will make possible?
Frederiksen: Windows XP makes it possible for users to achieve all sorts of end-to-end experiences — music and video are other examples. People today are doing a wide variety of things with digital media, from listening to their favorite music, buying music online, copying their CDs to portable devices and hard drives, or watching home or DVD movies on their PCs. With Windows XP and Windows Media Player 8, users can do all of these things in a single, easy-to-use place.
PressPass: With more and more people using digital devices, many are concerned that theyll be overwhelmed by the complexity of making them all work together. Can you talk about some of the ways that Windows XP makes computing easier for the average user?
Frederiksen: One of the major goals behind Windows XP was to make computing easy for users at any skill level. One way to achieve simplicity is to remove steps, so Windows XP contains built-in intelligence that streamlines the process to make the experiences easier. An example of how we are focusing on simplicity in an increasingly complex world of digital devices is Windows XPs support for intelligent AutoPlay. With Windows XP when you insert a storage device into your PC, whether it is a Compact Flash Card or a CD, Windows will automatically present you with a list of options based on the content on the media. If it contains Windows Media files you will be presented with Music options, if it contains images you will be presented with Digital Photo options. Windows XP is anticipating what you want to do and making it easier for you to do it.
Another feature that will simplify the computing experience is Remote Assistance. Say youre the technical guru in your family, and your mother in Florida is having a problem getting her PC to do what she wants it to do. As easy as sending a piece of email, you can get permission to view and control her desktop and walk her through the solution. Its like you are sitting in the same room looking at the same screen, even though you may be thousands of miles away.
PressPass: What about look and feel? How much change can we expect in the Windows XP user interface?
Frederiksen: The visual design changes in Windows XP are the most significant since the release of Windows 95. We have moved the design from a data-driven model to a task-oriented model, which makes it visually simple for users to figure out how to do the things they want to do. Take the new Start menu for instance: we have designed it as the true launching point for users to get started and do everything they want on their PC. We built intelligence into the design so the applications that are used most frequently will
and be quickly and easily accessible. Our goal was to make Windows XP a more intuitive experience, without introducing the kind of design that would cause people to have to re-learn how to use Windows.
PressPass: When will Windows XP be available?
Frederiksen: Windows XP is now in Beta 1. The Beta 2 release is scheduled to become available before the end of the first quarter. Were still on target to be ready with a final public release during the second half of this year.
PressPass: How has the PC industry responded to Windows XP so far?
Frederiksen: Everyone is very excited — we have seen overwhelming support from OEMs, ISVs, IHVs and retailers. This ability to experience more, which Windows XP brings to users — to connect devices in a seamless way; to connect to the Internet, to connect to friends and family; to complete a project start to finish without having to switch between devices or applications — this is all powerful stuff, and it has the industry extremely excited.