A former Microsoft employee has created a desktop system on Apple’s iPad by running Windows 8. During the media trail around the announcement, Steven Sinofsky also weighed in on Microsoft’s morphing relationship with open source.
First, let’s take a look at Sinofsky’s work at transforming the iPad Pro into a genuine laptop-like device.
For years, Apple has been trying to sell the idea that the iPad is a bona fide alternative to a PC. With the iPad Pro, the company has taken steps closer to laptop-beating features, but still falls short. It turns out the iPad needed one thing to make it a true PC competitor… Windows.
If you’re unfamiliar with Sinofsky, he was a long-time Microsoft employee who once headed the company’s Windows division. Specifically, he led the release of Windows 8. It perhaps makes sense, then, that he is using the platform for his iPad desktop OS.
New desktop PC. pic.twitter.com/b2OcaEgLEK
— Steven Sinofsky (@stevesi) May 25, 2020
He calls the pimped iPad Pro as “new desktop PC”. On Twitter, he revealed he used the 256GB storage version of Apple’s device. To make this a true desktop experience, Sinofsky is also using a dedicated stand, a trackpad, Magic Keyboard, cable, and the Apple Pencil.
Despite creating a desktop experience on iPad, Sinofsky says the device won’t become his daily driver.
“Use case I am looking forward to is as a second screen for video meetings. I got a Blackmagic ATEM Mini and will use this as a second video source and mix in picture in picture at source rather than share a desktop. Super nice!” he explains.
Microsoft’s Open Source Stance
Sinofsky was a major player at Microsoft during Steve Ballmer’s decade-long stint as CEO. Before leaving in 2012, he was involved in the company’s then ongoing stance that the open source community was the bane of computing innovation.
It’s common knowledge Microsoft had a deep-seated hatred for open source, especially Linux. Ballmer encapsulated this view more than most. In his typical blustery manner, Ballmer described the open source community as a “cancer” that “attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches”. Microsoft founder Bill Gates was also an opponent of open source in those days.
5/ Following that Microsoft essentially created the idea that software had value on its own and represented intellectual property. That's how the industry got created.
Many followed. Many expanded on an idea of IP—patents, lawsuits over user interface, and more. IBM, Apple, etc.
— Steven Sinofsky (@stevesi) May 22, 2020
Sinofsky defended Microsoft’s stance. On Twitter, Sinofsky while promoting a book on Microsoft’s antitrust history, said the view of open source was justified:
“Microsoft was founded on the principle that software was intellectual property,” Sinofsky says. “Times were different when Microsoft started,” Sinofsky writes. “There was no network distribution. In fact it cost money (COGS) to distribute software.”
Over the last five years, the era of Microsoft Loves Linux started, and the company is now a full supporter of open source solutions. Recently, Microsoft president Brad Smith admitted the company “was on the wrong side” in those days.
“Microsoft was on the wrong side of history when open source exploded at the beginning of the century, and I can say that about me personally,” Smith said.
As for Ballmer, he admitted in 2016 Microsoft’s new push into open source suited the company now. However, he said the reasons Microsoft can work with Linux and open source now is because “The company made a ton of money by fighting that battle very well. It’s been incredibly important to the company’s revenue stream”