Microsoft is finally getting serious about multitouch, which users love for its simplicity. The new UI that it showed off at D9 and in the Web video obviously draws a lot of influence from Microsoft’s recent work on Zune and Windows Phone 7. Although Microsoft says this new Windows 8 UI will be used for desktops, laptops, and tablets, the demo is on a 10-inch tablet and it’s pretty clear that this is Microsoft’s answer to the iPad, which has been doggedly eating into the sales of Windows PCs. The UI looks clean and self-evident, and it introduces some nice UI innovations for multitasking that a lot of tablet users will appreciate.
Microsoft has been doing touch interfaces for a long time. The original Windows CE (a.k.a. Windows Mobile) had basic touch. Microsoft Surface has sported advanced multitouch gestures and a multitouch UX. But, Microsoft has allowed Apple, Google, HTC, Samsung, and others to outflank them in winning over the masses to multitouch devices.