Battling Its Demons: Microsoft Launches Windows 10

During a secretive event, with only 50 reporters in the audience, Microsoft launched a new era of Windows – bypassing 9 and jumping straight to 10.

At an event in San Francisco, Microsoft’s Vice Presidents, Joe Belfiore and Terry Myerson, launched a Windows that will be “the most comprehensive platform ever.”

Microsoft’s new operating system is going to become an umbrella for all its products, ranging from Xbox to Windows Phone. Microsoft is trying to tackle what its competitors have had a lot of luck achieving. Microsoft’s fragmented strategy is set to become a thing of the past, under the “one tailored experience” that Microsoft is planning to make. Belfiore demonstrated the new OS on stage, acknowledging the fact that Microsoft had ‘listened’ to the concerns from Windows 8 and adapted.

In fact, if you’ve used Windows 8 or 7, you will find the OS extremely familiar. That’s the interesting thing; Microsoft has made Windows 10 a peculiar crossover of between the look of Windows 7 and the functionality of Windows 8. Although Windows 8 fans will notice that the Metro UI is not immediately present, there are still glimpses of Microsoft’s previous attempts at modernising the OS. The desktop view returns the greatly missed Start Menu; but adds live tiles into the mix. There are the usual, most frequent and pinned apps on the Start Menu – but it has definitely received an upgrade, a face lift. These quick view options from the Start menu allow users quick access to email, notifications and social network updates. Microsoft made it clear that it wants the functionality of Windows 8 – but the familiarity of Windows 7.

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Each of the tiles in the system are resizable and Microsoft touts an operating system that is just as usable on a touch screen as it is with a mouse. The screen can still be split into various ’tiles’ and the interface will automatically vary dependent on your input device.

Microsoft has finally caught up with the ‘multi/virtual desktop’ feature. Allowing users several virtual desktops. A new task view shows each of the apps running within the virtual set up. Snapping apps in a quadrant will also be a highly placed feature – allowing users to take advantage and truly multitask (if that’s at all possible).

Microsoft has learnt from Windows 8 and has allowed for various screen sizes. So it should’t matter, if you’re viewing on a 11inch screen or a 22inch screen; you should have a great experience. Apps that resize, actively adjust their layouts and optimise the use of space. In terms of programs, Microsoft is continuing the expansion of the Windows Store – which is a clever marketing move. Like Apple’s App Store, the Windows Store allows for users to buy and browse programs especially for their machines – all in one place. It is simple, intuitive and could be worked in with various other Microsoft products. Cross platform games, between Windows and Xbox, are already in the works.

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Microsoft is wanting to resurrect its dying brand, Windows. It forgot to mention much about Windows Phone – but added that: “it’ll be a natural step forward in the evolution of the phone.” It will be interesting to see how Microsoft debuts its OS on other platforms – and if it means those on Xbox will soon get a completely new style of gaming?

Redmond is currently offering knowledgeable technology enthusiasts and those in the industry the chance to trial Windows 10. A ‘tech preview’ is now available, but be warned – install it on a non-primary machine. If you’re not wanting to risk it – general release is expected in 2015.

Windows 10 marks a new start for Microsoft. Completely skipping 9, the double digits suggest a radical change in ethos and design. Microsoft needs to grapple with its identity and product strategy – where is it heading? It needs to tackle declining PC sales, stale Windows Phone margins and a lack of confidence in the brand. Unifying the Windows brand and offering a unified experience worked for its competitors; will it work for Microsoft?

 

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