Catch Vineet Durani, Director, Windows Business Group, Microsoft in a conversation with Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst & Group CEO, Greyhound Research on Greyhound Research’s knowledge sharing series ONTrigger.
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Sanchit Vir Gogia: Thank you for tuning in everybody. We are here at the Microsoft Headquarters in Gurgaon and we are here to talk about the none other than windows 10 launch which is coming in couple of hours from now. We are going to be talking to Vineet Durani, Director, Windows Business Group, Microsoft. We are going to find out what you really haven’t heard before about the launch Windows 10. Just to share with you a context we did a study recently an outcome of that told us that 70% of 150 organizations across Asia Pacific we spoke to were not going to explore Window 10 for the next 2-3 quarters because these organizations have just moved to Windows 7 or Windows 8 in the last 6-12 months. So we are going to question Vineet Durani about all of these things just in a short moment from now.
SVG: Vineet, thank you very much for making time for the show. I really appreciate it. So the big day is very near, from tomorrow it’s a couple of hours when the Windows 10 will be out really. So butterflies in the stomach?
Vineet Durani: Absolutely not. We are just looking forward to it because what is unique this time around is that we are actually having a lot of our fans and Window insiders coming to the event. I am really excited and looking forward to meet them.
SVG: That is the first one the Windows Insider Program. Let us talk about that. Where did that come from?
VD: Well! Think of it this way that Windows has been around for 30 years. 1985 was the first version of Windows that came out and subsequently we have been bringing out Windows every three years or so if you roughly think about it. There is a new release of Windows.
Considering the fact that a lot has changed in terms of the ecosystem over the course of 7-8 years, the way we are looking at windows is not like an operating system for a device but Windows 10 is an operating system for all kinds of devices. Given the fact that there are different kinds of devices that exist there and a lot of devices that have yet not been invented. We see newer form factor emerging pretty much.
SVG: Like 2-in-1s is a classic example, right?
VD: Yes, Like the internet, the experience around hololens. Windows 10 is an operating system for all kinds of devices. And from that perspective, the fact that we are doing a big change and it is absolutely a new way of doing things and the Insider Program was really one of those things we wanted to bring in to make sure that people who are Windows fans and enthusiast give us a lot of feedback. And when there is a feedback there is a structured way of going about things. Think of it as a massive crowd sourcing sort of a model where you have people who really want to run that code on their machine which is the early builds and give us a feedback. Both, from a telemetric perspective which you can get of machines as well as real feedback saying I want that feature or I want to see that in the next years.
SVG: Give us some examples what features that have come in from the Insider Program.
VD: The one that I immediately remember is where we are doing multiple desktops. A lot of people gave us feedback, Insiders gave us feedback the ability for you to drag and drop apps into different desktops, and you can personalize your desktops. So that straight forward came as an Insider feedback and the ability to sort of change your settings on the taskbar was another feedback that came from the Insider Program. There are hundreds of other examples but these are the ones that come on top of my head.
SVG: What was the number, 5 million if I last checked?
VD: I think right now we have about 5.5 Million insiders. The kind of information, the kind of data you get and the kind of insights makes it massive and its unique and one of its kind. On 29th July, 2015 we get to see everyone there at least the ones who can make it to the event from Delhi perspective.
SVG: I hope, not all 5 Million will be there.
VD : 5 Million are all across the world but there are hundreds and thousands of them even in India and you will find at least the ones we have been able to invite and get proximity to Delhi. I am also aware that there are a lot of people who have actually packed their bags and they are coming all the way catching a train or a bus. It is amazing to see the kind of response Windows gets.
SVG: I am amazed actually from Microsoft because having Windows Insider Program requires quite a bit change inside the organization right from the fact that you have thought about this because this is not something which flows with the history of Microsoft at the first. Then executing that feature end to end and most importantly using it for row back into the product as well. Now what changes did you see through the entire organization to make this real?
VD: I think the one fundamental reason that we are going in the direction is that Satya has really brought this whole perspective to keeping the customer at the centre of everything we do. So building this culture of customer obsession and the Insider Program is a great example of that and we are just getting started. In this whole idea of building Windows 10 as a service where you are continuously going to get upgrades.
Every time you buy a Windows 10 device you upgrade to Windows 10 so you are constantly going to get new features and new upgrades and upgrade sets that will essentially be there for the lifetime of the device and that is a very crucial part of Insiders in giving you feedback also testing the kind of features whether they like them or not or whether they can give us ideas to make it even better so it truly snapped into that really well and sought of fits very well into the whole strategy and building Windows 10 as a service that constantly keeps upgrading. The centre of it is about making sure of putting the customer at the centre and in this case the Insiders is a great example where people volunteering to participate in the whole building of Windows 10.
SVG: Let us talk about support. You mentioned support. I am assuming that it is a traditional 5+5 strategy that you have adopted for all Windows in the past. When you mention support for the lifetime of the device I am assuming in a typical scenario it is three or four years or may be five years at the maximum when actually a person uses that device.
VD: Don’t think the way to look at it from a binary view or number of years or whatever. But you cannot look at the pace of hardware innovation and then you look at the kind of updates that will run on that hardware. So the hardware of today is certainly not going to be the hardware to five years down the line. But what you can consistently say is till the time the hardware supports those upgrades it is going to keep upgrading till then. And then there will be certain feature sets which are very unique to certain hardware, functionalities that are required. Those might not work because the hardware does not support. One of the things that we have constant innovations that how do you leverage newer hardware and how do you drive the ecosystem.
A great example of that is a feature in Windows 10 for Windows Hello which is the idea of sought of integrating biometrics very deeply into Windows 10. The ability for you to not to remember your password, your face or fingerprint is the password. But for that to happen, you obviously need hardware ecosystem to support that. You will see new devices coming with those functionality features which mean that previous devices which don’t have that feature will still work; they can obviously add a peripheral and make that work. But if you want integrated experiences then you will go buy an upgrade and buy new hardware.
So you get both, a new hardware innovation and Windows 10 harnesses and get all the benefits with some features not there because they need hardware support. So I would look at it that way, I would not look at it from a time line perspective.
SVG: I must compliment you, I do have a Lenovo Yoga which has a biometric and it beautifully integrates. To my horror, I always thought when the batches would come out it is a big software upgrade so it is going to be big bang in the morning when I open my device and the device would not run. To my amazement when i switched on my device everything was working pristine, everything was working great.
Of course there was a delay of 10-15 minutes when Windows wanted to setup my desktop for myself which is expected, which I think is OK. I Think lets switch some gears.
Let’s step back a little bit in fact. Let’s roll back to Windows 7. I think Windows 7 did a great job of being adopted in the market, being accepted really straight from Windows XP to Windows 7. But when Windows 8 came in it was a bit of patchy ride for Microsoft when you had to come back with 8.1 add the start button. My question is not really.
My question is what was the thought process at the HQ when you were wanting to come up with a brand new Windows, were you thinking bottoms up architecture differences, were you thinking UI, were you thinking Multi-tasking, what were you thinking really?
VD: The fundamental view of how we building Windows is that you have to look at it from what is really happening around you from an ecosystem perspective, obviously put the customer at the centre. Then see there is a huge amount of hardware innovation happening different kinds of devices coming out literary every day. And then you have new kinds of form factors that emerge very frequently.
So how do you keep build an operating system that is not tethered to just one device and is just an operating system for a device like a PC(Personal Computer) etc. But you kind of build an operating system that spans the entire expanse of devices that exist today and the ones that will get potentially invented. So already have the view of the ecosystem. So windows 10 today runs from a small form factor as raspberry pie which is Internet of Things kind of device where you can sought of build great kind of sensors and build it into different things and do different application with it and then runs onto a as bigger device as a surface hub which is a device we have built, which allows to do into meeting rooms and create great meeting experiences.
You have to have a different view of how you want to approach that. So I think that was the fundamental shift in our view of what an operating system for the future would look like and one of the reasons people ask why not 9 and why 10. We wanted it to signify that is a big leap and there is a big change and that probably one way to do that was that hey we actually skipped to generation because we are going and architecting.
If you really look at it, it is the same shell that runs across all of these devices and then there are these tailored experiences that run on top of the shell. So you have a great tailored experience for a PC, for a phone, for a tablet, for a surface hub and for example building a device like hololense, that is entirely build on Windows 10.
So how do you build an operating system which will not only sought of fulfil the kind of devices that exist today but also devices that keep getting invented every day. There are new categories forming literary every few months, so how do you really build an operating system for that. That was really the core where we are going with this and its one of our core three bold ambitions we have as a company and one of them is creating more personal computing and that sought of sits right there in the middle of that Windows 10 in terms of more natural user interface, how do you build modern devices, how do you drive constant innovation and not this monolithic three year upgrade cycle that you have been used to and also more important what is the mobility experience becomes really critical because as users I will continue to use different kinds of devices. Sometimes Windows devices and sometimes a mix of windows and non-windows devices. So how does my experience travels across different kinds of experiences that travel across devices. For example I will certainly get access to Cortana on my Windows device but I will also get it on non-windows device. How do I get access to my music and my video experiences and I can start something and end something in some of the devices. So we wanted to make sure that we have a platform that is able to traverse that entire universe of devices that exist today and the ones that will hopefully come.
SVG: Interesting. Cotana amazes me honestly but we will talk about that in a bit. What really concerns me right now is the upgrade. There is a lot of confusion in the market that if I am a Windows 7 Ultimate customer, what do I get upgraded to and let’s say if I am a Windows 8.1 mobile customer what do I get upgraded to. So is there a specific skew you’re using to sought of upgrade.
VD: So there are only two skews of Windows 10. One is Windows Home and the other is Windows Pro. So if you are a Home user you go to Home and if you are a Pro user you go to Pro and if you are an Ultimate of something you go to Pro. And then obviously there is a variant of Windows Enterprise which is only for Enterprise customers who have an enterprise agreement with us. Keeping that out of the conversation you basically have Home and Pro so it is very simple for users to understand if they want to go buy a device with Home. So it’s relatively simple. Essentially the device will sense what they are running and will just recommend whatever they need to upgrade so it is fairly simple from a user’s perspective.
SVG: If I don’t want to download Windows 7 or Windows 8 and I want a boxed copy do we have an alternative of a boxed copy
VD: So let me just explain how the upgrade process really works and then we come to if you don’t have windows what you got to do with that. So the way the upgrade process works and this is really important for users to understand because that is the best and the most recommended way for people to go and upgrade. Lot of people have already started getting notifications. Notification to reserve their copy for Windows 10 and a lot of people have already done that. Starting the 29th, July those people who have reserved their copy will be the first ones who will start getting notifications saying click here to go and upgrade and they follow that process and they will upgrade their machines. What is really happening is we want to make sure is all the users get a fantastic experience like what you mentioned that you have upgraded a an Insider. This is the real deal. This is the build that we release on 29th and you want users to go thought a phenomenal experience. You have to understand that the ecosystem is fairly varied.
There are multiple driver set, multiple different kinds of configurations that exist out there. So when you have reserved your copy, got the fine tune versions of build that should run on your devices and subsequently over a few weeks you will get more and more users will start getting notifications and start going through this reservation and upgrade process. And at some point of time it opens up broadly and then anybody can do it. The benefit of this is that so many people who are sought of going through it, you have this millions of permutations and combinations devices that sought of get a grade experience of upgrading their device. So while you can still on the 29th go and download the upgrade and run it on the machine even if you don’t have a notification or a reservation. And if you are enthusiasts then you don’t want to wait for your notification you can potentially take that call. But we would recommend that you go through the reservation and the notification process because then it is a much optimised build that is going to be coming for your machine. So wait for the notification or the icon to come up on your PC. Go reserve your copy and subsequently in a few weeks you will get a notification to go upgrade and that would be the best ideal recommended process for a regular consumer. If you are an enthusiast then you obviously have the option to sort of go upgrade your PC directly as well.
SVG: But will you ever have an option of a boxed copy as well?
SVG: Do you have a pricing for that already?