Windows 8 Everywhere

By Daniel Maxson | January 31, 2012


Fox News on your Xbox? Fox News’ parent company News Corp. has been making headlines lately for its plans to allow users the ability to access shows like ‘The O'Reilly Factor’ on their Xboxes by using their log in credentials from their cable or satellite subscriptions.

Riding the wave dubbed "TV Everywhere," News Corp. is one of many media publishers making the move to alternative platforms in an effort to expose viewers to its brand in a new and innovative environment.

However, the platform choice is what makes this news even more interesting, and here’s why: the Xbox 360 will, by all appearances, soon be running Windows 8. And Windows 8 is uniquely designed to be platform-agnostic, making it the perfect system for media publishers trying to make their brand ubiquitous in consumers’ media diets - just as long as it gets consumer buy-in.

And therein may be the rub. As has been pointed out, designing for different physical interfaces often requires different methods. The iPad’s OS was designed not to emulate OS X, but to take full advantage of the unique physical properties of the iPad. Obviously, that design philosophy worked for Apple. It has made for a great user experience. But it’s also more expensive for media publishers to create content catering to two distinct platforms.

How the roll-out to the Xbox 360 unfolds could well indicate the fate of Windows 8 as a whole. Concerns about device-specific interface design notwithstanding, if an interface commonly regarded as touch-friendly performs well under the thumbs of Xbox players, it should have no problem making the transition to more traditional mouse-and-keyboard PCs.

Microsoft has proven with Windows Phone 7 that it can build a worthy mobile operating system. The lessons it learned from that could make all the difference in determining whether its new “Windows 8 Everywhere” design philosophy captures the hearts of consumers the way it’s already capturing the imagination of publishers.