Microsoft Corp said that its next operating system will be made for touch-screen applications, an alternative to the computer mouse. Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer unveiled the iPhone-like touch-screen feature at The Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference, calling it just the smallest snippet of the Windows 7 operating system slated for release in late 2009.
A Microsoft employee showed possible applications like enlarging and shrinking photos and navigating a map of San Diego by stroking the screen. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates framed the new feature as an evolution away from the mouse.
Microsoft’s top two executives defended the company’s last operating system, Vista, while acknowledging missteps. Gates said he has never been 100 percent satisfied with any Microsoft product, and that the company prides itself on fixing shortcomings in later versions.