Menu
Microsoft skips a number, says 'Windows 10' will be a big break from the past

Microsoft skips a number, says 'Windows 10' will be a big break from the past

The company showed an early build of its new OS in San Francisco on Tuesday

You can create multiple desktops to keep things organized—whether for work or personal use, or both.

You can create multiple desktops to keep things organized—whether for work or personal use, or both.

Microsoft's major update to its operating system, called Windows 10, has been built to blend old and new in a way that will be familiar to Windows 7 users while also retaining much of its more modern tile interface.

The new OS will run on all hardware devices when it ships next year, from phones to tablets and desktops, and provide software developers with a way to write applications that can span all those platforms, the company said.

The logical name for the OS would be Windows 9, but Microsoft jumped to Windows 10 to reflect what it sees as a big break from the past.

"Because we're not building an incremental product, the new name will be Windows 10," Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Operating Systems group, declared at a launch event in San Francisco, where he showed some early code.

The event on Tuesday was aimed at enterprise users, who have been most critical of the jarring UI changes that came with Windows 8. A big theme was that the new OS will be accessible to users who are familiar with older operating systems, but still include aspects of the modern interface in Windows 8.

For instance, the desktop OS has a start button at bottom left which opens a split menu -- to the left is a Windows 7 style menu including the familiar apps and tools, and to the right are "live tiles" that allow users to open more modern "metro" style apps. Users can drag and drop those live tiles to customize that portion of the start menu.

Microsoft is promising a universal development platform for app developers, so that they can write applications that will run across all Windows devices. It will provide details at its Build conference next year.

"There will be one way to write a universal business app that targets the entire product family," said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of the Operating Systems group.

There will also be a single Windows apps store for all device types, one that businesses will be able to customize for their employees.

Microsoft is promising to make managing Windows devices easier. "Windows 10 will be compatible with all the management systems in use today," Myerson said.

For security, Windows 10 will have a "novel way" to separate corporate and personal data on devices, Belfiore said, though he didn't describe that in any detail.

Microsoft will start to distribute a "technical preview build" of the laptop and desktop versions of the OS this week, to be followed later by technical previews for tablets. The early code is designed for users who are "comfortable running pre-release software."

Early next year, it will say more about what consumers can look forward to, including new versions of apps like Internet Explorer. Today was about showing the basic user interface and what the OS means for enterprises.

The key message was that Windows 10 will be familiar to end users "whether they're coming from Windows 7 or Windows 8," as Myerson put it.

The new OS follows Windows 8, which was launched two years ago and largely failed to accomplish its mission: to improve Microsoft's position in the tablet OS market while retaining its dominance in PCs with substantial improvements for those users.

Windows 8 introduced a radically redesigned interface, called Modern, which was optimized for touch screen devices, like tablets, and an alternate Windows 7-like conventional desktop. But many found the OS inconvenient to use, particularly with mice and keyboards.

Enterprises felt particularly alienated by Windows 8 and its subsequent revisions -- Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update -- so it's not a coincidence that Tuesday's event focused on this customer segment and the particular concerns and needs of CIOs.

"Windows is at a threshold, and now it's time for a new Windows," Myerson said Tuesday.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftoperating systemssoftwareWindows

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments