About this blog Subscribe to this blog

How Will You Make the World a Better Place Through Technology?

Kid At Blackboard
Stephen Baxter is an Australian import and serves as the Senior Product Manager for Microsoft’s Windows 10 S. I had the opportunity to talk with him at the 2017
Imagine Cup World Finals, a competition bringing teams from all over the world to compete at the Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, Washington. Stephen enthusiastically talks about Windows 10 S being streamlined for security and performance, and how Windows 10 S seems to be a natural fit for the education market.

Stephen sees a benefit to involving young children in technology at the earliest opportunity and knows that user feedback of all ages and levels of experience is essential. He sees a system in Windows 10 S that’s perfect for education but also easier for teachers and schools to manage. With its wide access and broad knowledge, it helps foster an environment that gives students the freedom to create and be themselves both in the classroom and at home. Whether it’s working individually or in groups, students can experiment, learn and grow much like the teams at the Imagine Cup competition.

Stephen wants both student teams and industry developers to make a positive impact and think about where they can take application development into the future. He challenges students to not only create the next popular hot game or app but examine how they can better the future in varying ways through technology.

Interview with Stephen Baxter

Interview Transcript:

Rod Berger:  Stephen, it's nice to be spending some time with you today. Tell me about Windows 10 S. What should we in the market know from your perspective, and what's the most exciting component of the way in which we can all be interfacing with it?

Stephen Baxter:  The tagline “Windows 10 S” helps speak for it. It's streamlined for security and performance. It's for those customers who are concerned about security and performance. All of your applications are verified by Microsoft which helps keep the product at its peak performance from Day 1 to Day 100.

It's also available on a wide range of devices including the Surface Laptop. It's a full version of Windows; you get all the great features like Windows Hello, Windows Ink, Cortana, etc. But the key thing is being able to maintain that performance and also hold up security.

RB:  Take us behind the scenes a little bit when we're talking about security. I think there's a lot when the public thinks about security in the technological world that we live in; yet, I'm sure that there are realities when we're developing technology that is protected.

What is it like going behind the scenes of the amount of work that has to go in to make sure the performance isn’t compromised by the security measures that we're putting in?

SB:  There's a lot that goes into building a product like Windows 10 S. But I think the key fundamental is that all of the applications are verified by Microsoft before they go into the Windows store, and then customers download all of their applications from that store. They know that they're safe and secure. They're not going to install any unwanted code on their device. More importantly, they're not going to install anything like malware if the application comes from the Windows store.

RB:  How much in the development side of things do you get from the market in hearing about what they want in functionality in what might be the next 10 S?

SB:  We take a lot of data from Windows Insiders and really take their feedback on board when developing Windows 10 as a whole. We use a lot of that feedback to drive where the product goes with new features.

RB:  Let's take the conversation to education when we think of a big picture about what technology can provide us. We're in a world now where we have digital natives and these children are growing up experiencing the latest in technology, and that this is all they know. What do you think the impact is in the development world of technology to take in that information, the user experience, the UI, and the UX into what we will all be experiencing in the next five to ten years?

SB:  I think the most important piece is being able to get these younger children involved in technology as early as possible. And, I guess, that's also key for Windows 10. It's able to create an environment that's perfect for education, one that's easier for teachers and schools to manage but also one that gives students the freedom to be able to create and to be themselves.

RB:  Earlier today, Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, was challenging developers to bend the curve. What does that mean to you? I thought it was a very compelling statement on the power that we all have in front of us to be able to innovate and create not only as individuals but as teams across the world.

SB:  I think it's really about getting developers to not just build the next hot game or the next hot application but to really think about where we can take application development in the future so we can better the world in some different way as well as being able to create the next hot game that everyone wants to play.

RB:  Let's talk about your background. Tell me about education back in Australia and what life would have been like growing up in a Windows 10 S environment.

SB:  I think things would have been a lot easier to work with Windows 10. When I first started with computers, it was a two-toned color screen with four cabled imports, and it barely had a mouse.

If we had Windows 10 back in those days, I think we'd be a lot further than what we are now.


Further Reading:

Forbes - Microsoft’s Smartphone Ambitions Have Not Died

The Daily Independent - Prince awarded for service in education technology

CNBC - Bill Gates: Better technology must be developed to educate people


About Stephen Baxter

Stephen Baxter HeadshotStephen Baxter is a senior product manager on the Windows Consumer Marketing team, supporting Windows 10 S and Windows on Snapdragon. He has worked for Microsoft/Nokia for the last 7 years; prior to moving to the US, Stephen lived in Sydney, Australia as a Lumia Product Manager. Before joining Microsoft, he worked for Vodafone Hutchison Australia in the Device Marketing team for over 7 years, focusing on Device Customization and Go To Market.

For more on Windows 10 S follow on Twitter






About Dr. Rod Berger

Dr. Berger is a global education media personality and strategic influencer featured in The Huffington Post, Scholastic, AmericanEdTV, edCircuit, EdTechReview India and Forbes.

Audiences have enjoyed education interviews with the likes of Sir Ken Robinson, Arne Duncan, Randi Weingarten, Sal Khan along with leading edtech investors, award-winning educators, and state and federal education leaders. Berger’s latest project boasts a collaboration with AmericanEdTV and CBS’s Jack Ford.

Follow Dr. Rod Berger on Twitter.


Post Comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Down the Hall are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.