Windows 8 leak shows Microsoft aping Apple

Italian Windows site Windowsette seems to have stumbled across a bunch of Microsoft slides that were apparently shown to the software outfit's PC partners back in April.

One of the slides is entitled "How Apple does it: A virtuous cycle," and implies that Microsoft, from its seemingly unassailable position as desktop monopolist a few years back, is now reduced to playing catch-up with the Cupertino cowboys.

The slides show the types of hardware Windows 8 might want to target and, once again, the box presented looks rather Apple like. For those of us engaged in an almost-daily battle with smug Apple fanboys, it's all a bit embarrassing. We've enjoyed being able to get down and dirty with our hardware and tinker with what's in the box. Apple fans have to do what they're told. But Microsoft has increasingly tried to lock us out over recent years and it seems the trend is likely to continue.

The idea of new "Windows Store" is floated. Can the voles of Redmond really be sitting in their glass cages casting envious glaces southwards in the direction of Cupertino wondering where it all went wrong?

In a familiar tale, Microsoft seems to be planning to open up a download "store" to third parties, sticking Windows apps and updates all in once place. Microsoft seems also to have plans to police the store's offerings. We seem to have heard that one before too.

Bandwagon-hopping Microsoft is targetting all-in-one desktops, laptops and slate devices with WIndows 8, if the slides are to be believed. These are the sorts of systems that make the brand label on the box more important, compared to the less-well-differentiated concoction of big, grey box, plus screen, plus peripherals that PC OEMs have been churning out for decades.

Windows 8 seems to stop short of targetting tablets and lower-powered handhelds. It would seem that space may well belong to Android, which paradoxically seems more modelled on the Microsoft model of old rather than Apple's locked in approach which Microsoft is evidently intent on aping.

Beyond that, Windows 7's sensor and location-based APIs look like being pushed, as Bill Gates' dream of dumping the keyboard in favour other ways of controlling the machine - like Kinect maybe - may begin to be realised.

The oufit also still wants machines to boot faster but still resists the idea of turning them off completely. It looks like the OS will remain so cumbersome that it just won't boot quickly of you turn it off - have they heard of global warming? Sheesh!

A footnote suggests Internet Explorer 9 will see a beta release in August. We haven't yet found a mention of when Windows 8 might see the light of day.