Sinofsky: We Heart Tablet

Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft’s head of Windows, broached the subject that has caused many tablet pc enthusiasts ( like yours truly, Loren Heiny, and Warner Crocker) to begin scratching their heads this past weekend.

At the Windows Hardware Engineering conference today, TechFlash’s Todd Bishop reported the following quote from Sinofksy:

"Touch, of course, goes way back to our work on the Tablet PC, which continues to be an extremely important opportunity for developers, and a great way to express new and unique scenarios, and a great way to have new types of applications in software. And so we’re very excited to continue to bring forward the Tablet PC, to continue to improve it. And we actually have a whole bunch of new work in recognizers and expanding that around the world, but then building on top of that, we’ll expand it with the role of touch. And so, as you’ll see, this becomes a big opportunity for everybody, across a whole different set of dimensions."

TechFlash’s Bishop then asks if this statement from Sinofsky would be enough to placate the Tablet PC enthusiasts? Not really — I’ve known that the Windows team has been solidly behind tablet, although I was hoping for a bit more than what I’ve experienced in Windows 7 so far. Tablet bits in Windows 7 are greatly improved, but they were vastly improved in Vista over Windows XP. Did those improvements help move Tablet out of Ozzie’s so-called ““niche” space? What needs to happen to change Ozzie’s mind, so much so, that we would begin to see him integrate tablet features in Live products? I have not had an opportunity to play with the Windows 7 multi-touch bits, but I’m hopeful that it will bring about many opportunities for touch and ink — if lessons have been learned from the past 6 years.

My concerns over Ozzie’s statement still stand because I’ve seen his statement about ““niche” play itself out over the past six years in applications like Office, Mail, Calendar, etc. I’m wondering just how many other teams at Microsoft feel the same way, and therefore won’t sink much time and effort in to a ““niche” market rather than look for creative ways to correct that problem.