This week, Microsoft is holding its BUILD developer conference. Steve Balmer (Microsoft’s CEO) went on stage to demonstrate himself what Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 were about. He did a really good job rallying the Windows 8 developers (arguably a crowd already converted here) and the crowd went away energized and enthusiastic. The top devices were shown, including the Microsoft Surface RT which had the biggest round of applause (read our full review of the Surface RT Tablet).

Microsoft’s Steven Guggenheimer went on stage to talk about the development side of things, including monetization strategies which include in-app sales and third party payment systems. Of course there were a fair number of app demonstration, including Skype and ESPN, which has put a lot of efforts into building a Windows 8 app.Steve Balmer came back on stage to deliver a final pitch, saying that the Windows Eco-system is potentially huge. Because Windows 7 uses more resources than Windows 8, every single Windows 7 machine is a potential upgrade target. Obviously, the flood of new PCs will all run on Windows 8 as well. That’s going to represent hundreds of millions of devices in the near future.  The message is: “there an opportunity, and it is too big to ignore, come build with Microsoft”. Steve Balmer ended his presentation by giving away a Microsoft Surface RT tablet to BUILD attendees.

Twitter, SAP and Dropbox have announced upcoming Windows 8 apps. Clearly apps are one of the soft spots right now, but I think that the opportunity is indeed very big, not only on PC, but also on tablets and smartphones. The ability to re-use most of the code across platforms will without a doubt be extremely helpful. It is just a matter of time before Windows 8 gets a large stable of apps that will rival, or surpass, other platforms.

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