Microsoft: emphasis on Start Screen shackled Windows 8

"We need to get people thinking that way - does it need to be thin and light, do I need a long battery life, does it need a big screen. When you figure those things out, you'll probably find there's a device that's right for them. We need to help them find that device.

"With Surface, because it's our device, some people think this is it! Actually, there could be a much better device that's a much better fit for what you want. We tend to forget that people don't know [what to look for] because we're so close to it. There's an education job for us to do."

"So when we talk about Surface being seen as the key Windows 8 device, is it about making sure partners' devices are on even keel? "I think it's a decision path - if that's not too bad a term to use - that includes our devices and all the rest too. It's crazy to suggest that Surface is the perfect device for everybody because clearly some people don't like it, they want a proper keyboard or whatever it is."

Does RT have a future?

Has Windows RT made things more complicated, with the lack of support for desktop apps? "Yeah, I think again it's about being clear about what people want. So if they've got Windows 7 programs they depend on, Photoshop for example, we need to be clear that they won't work on RT and it's not the right device for them. Simple as that.

"Although there is the case that there might be an equivalent [Windows 8] app for them and so the other advantages such as long battery life means it's a good choice. It is part of the decision-making process that we need to be clear about. I still maintain that having choice is a good thing, but it does complicate things somewhat.

"It's about getting people to use these devices and trying them out. It's a tough one, as it usually means going into a retail store. It's tough to get the value across on a poster. And it's tough to get the message across - 'this is Atom, this is ARM'. People don't think about that, they think about what they want to do, if they need something for email or for 3D gaming. I guess that's always been the case."

Windows RT

Does Windows RT have a long future?

Finally, we also asked Moulster if he knew of any plans for RT, as other manufacturers seem to be pulling back from the OS. "We've specified support [duration, until November 2017 for Surface RT] … what the longer term plans are I'm not really privy to, but RT is a fully-fledged player. I can't really say any more than that."

Moulster finishes on a positive note. "We're encouraged by the solid initial sales of Windows 8, and as we announced recently there have been over 60 million licenses sold [market share is also on the rise]. This is an exciting time in Windows and there's a lot of energy around the work we're doing."