23 March 2023

Microsoft Shows Off Windows 10

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Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday offered a deeper look at Windows 10, the next generation of its flagship operating software that will be able to work across computers, tablets and smartphones. The operating system will include a new Web browser and enable broader social gaming, a co-working big screen and a hologram-viewing headset.

The Web browser, called Project Spartan, will allow users to take notes with a stylus and read content in a more streamlined layout. It will include a version of Microsoft’s Cortana personal assistant, first made available on smartphones in April. At its Windows 10 launch event, Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore demos new Skype integration into Windows Messaging.

Microsoft demonstrated a new device aimed at the workplace called Surface Hub, an 84-inch touch-screen computer with features such as a stylus wipeboard, shared Web browser and video conferencing. And for a little razzle-dazzle, the company closed with a vision for hologram computing called Windows Holographic. Microsoft showed off a headset called HoloLens, whose wearers can view and interact with augmented-reality holograms that appear in natural environments, such as a living room or office.

A lot is riding on the new operating systems as the current version, Windows 8, failed to gain traction. Fewer than 15% of Windows computers run it, according to analyst Net Applications. Many users who tried it on a computer with keyboard and mouse complained about the touch-screen interface.

The company previously acknowledged it went off the rails with some elements of Windows 8. Microsoft didn’t offer a Windows 9. The coming software release would de-emphasizes a home screen offering smartphone-like apps, introduced in Windows 8, that confused some users with its fusion of mobile and PC conventions. Microsoft officials will continue to stress that Windows 10 is more like prior versions of Windows.

The larger benefit of a cross-device operating system, however, is creating a bigger base of users to appeal to software developers—a crucial constituency for Microsoft’s flailing smartphone business. Microsoft’s Windows Phone software is used on just three out of 100 new smartphones sold world-wide, and one reason is a lack of popular or buzzy apps. Microsoft hopes to burnish its Windows Phone’s allure to developers with the promise that apps created for Windows phones will also run on hundreds of millions of Windows PCs.

Windows’ role in generating revenue makes every new version a high-stakes venture. The PC operating system accounted for about 19% of Microsoft’s revenue in the year ended June 30, and it generates roughly 30% of the company’s earnings, Nomura Securities Co. stock analyst Rick Sherlund estimates.

Windows 10 may usher in some business-model tinkering. Microsoft executives have hinted the company will experiment with new ways to make money by pitching people add-on services or apps, such as Microsoft’s Skype video-calling service, OneDrive file storage and digital video downloads.

Click here to access the full article on The Wall Street Journal. 

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