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Microsoft Introduces Windows 8 Teams, Hints at 'App Store'

A Microsoft executive revealed on the Building Windows 8 blog on Wednesday that it is taking about 35 teams to execute the various planning, coding and testing efforts surrounding the new OS.

Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, also said each team comprises between 25 and 40 developers, suggesting that the number of Windows 8 developers may range between 875 and 1,400 people. However, Microsoft also has program management, product designers and testers on each team, so the total number of people involved in Windows 8 is likely greater.

According to Sinofsky, each team is responsible for a single feature area of the operating system. The features handled by each team represent broad architectural aspects of Windows, he explained. They don't just concentrate on a particular aspect of the Windows 8 user interface.

Sinofsky provided very few details in the blog, but the presence of an "App Store" team on his list seems to imply that Windows 8 will have a center for developers to sell their Windows 8 applications. "Hyper-V" is on the team list for Windows 8, possibly confirming a tip given to veteran Microsoft reporter Mary-Jo Foley about client integration of Microsoft's hypervisor.

However, that last point is not really so clear because a team can cover both client and server technologies.

"For example, all of our kernel, networking, storage, virtualization, and other fundamental OS work is also part of Windows Server -- that's right, one team delivers the full Windows Client OS and much of the foundation for the Windows Server OS," Sinofsky explained. "And some features are built in the core OS but are ultimately only part of the Server product."

An Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) team will contribute, and that fact possibly indicates that Silverlight support won't go away with Windows 8's release. XAML is a Microsoft XML-variant markup language that works with Microsoft's Windows Presentation Foundation graphics subsystem. Silverlight uses XAML for Web graphics, so it seems that Microsoft may be planning to make Silverlight work with Internet Explorer 10, which is the browser version expected to ship with Windows 8.

Microsoft created a lot of confusion among developers by not talking about its .NET and Silverlight platforms when announcing Windows 8. Instead, Microsoft stressed the importance of HTML 5 and JavaScript for Windows 8 application development. Possibly, this point will be further clarified at Microsoft's Build event in September.

So far, Sinofsky has only vaguely promised that Windows 8 will support hardware and software requirements that worked with Windows 7-capable systems. He didn't explain when a build of Windows 8 would be available. 

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About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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