Windows 7: ditches mouse, gets in touch

28 May 2008

A demonstration of the next generation of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows 7, has revealed that it will be geared towards a touchscreen interface where users will abandon the mouse and let their fingers do the walking.

At the Wall Street Journal‘s D: All Things Digital conference on Tuesday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer demoed some features of the new, unreleased Windows 7, showing how users will be able to drag and drop icons and completely interact with the system using touch only.

Various touch interactions such as resizing photos were shown, which showed a move towards Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch intuitive mode of interaction. Microsoft’s version is called MultiTouch.

While Apple’s iPhone does not register more than one touch, Microsoft’s technology will, allowing five fingers to draw five separate lines at once.

Although the new operating system has been hotly tipped for release in the last quarter of 2009, Microsoft said a release date of January 2010 was on the cards.

Bill Gates appeared on stage to join Ballmer as they discussed their partnership at Microsoft, which has spanned three decades, before Gates was quizzed by Wall Street Journal writer Walter Mossberg on whether or not Vista had been a total flop.

Gates referred to his perfectionist nature, saying he was never 100pc happy with any product ever shipped, but alluded to the more disappointing Vista by adding that this particular product had given the company “more opportunity” to improve.

Finally, the subject of the failed Yahoo! acquisition was broached with Ballmer saying: “We are not rebidding for the company. We reserve the right to do so. That’s not on the docket,” adding that the two companies were discussing a partnership.

By Marie Boran