Microsoft will announce more details about its long-awaited operating system, Windows 10, tomorrow. Will it live up to the considerable hype, and more importantly will it restore confidence in the software giant after the debacle that was Windows 8?
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) sent invitations out last month for an event which takes place on January 21, entitled Windows 10: the next chapter, where it’s expected that more details will be revealed about the latest version, and a look at how it works on tablets and smartphones.
Windows 10 is said to be a much more unified platform that will look and feel the same on every device, but in practice few people know what that will entail. It will run not only on traditional Intel-based PCs, but on smartphones and tablets that run on ARM (LON: ARM) chips. The company will be trying to make it easier for developers to create apps that will help it make some inroads in the mobile business, as it’s currently trailing way back in third place behind Android and iOS in terms of mobile devices.
Windows 8 scared off consumers
When Windows 8 was released, the company came under intense criticism for going to far focusing on mobile, and many people bemoaned the changes that were forced upon them, for example the removal of the Start button. Unfortunately, many people (especially businesses) didn’t even bother “upgrading” to Windows 8, preferring the now-ancient Windows 7.
Microsoft now needs to convince consumers why Windows is a great platform to use, for example why would anyone buy a Windows PC, a Windows Phone and a Windows tablet, rather than a PC, an Android tablet and an iPhone. In fairness, Microsoft’s ‘ecosystem’ of inter-related software and cloud-based services (such as OneDrive) work very well together – it’s just that there’s not enough choice in terms of smartphones and tablets right now.
Windows 7 is still the most popular desktop OS
Windows 7 still accounts for more than half of the desktop OS market, and Windows XP (which is now 14 years old) has around 20%. Windows 8 and the newer 8.1 account for around 15%, which indicates just how poorly the OS has been received. The upshot is that Windows 10 doesn’t really need to beat Windows 8 – it needs to be demonstrably better than Windows 7, as that’s when the business world (and everybody else) will decide to make the upgrade.
RELATED: Free Windows 7 support comes to an end.
Furthermore, Windows does not come cheap. In developing markets like Thailand, consumers rarely fork out for the full, official versions of Windows, and many new PCs come with free Linux-based operating system such as Ubuntu. Apple on the other hand gives away it’s superior OS X software for free with every Mac (though you could argue the hardware is more expensive in the first place).
Windows 10 holds much promise
Coupled with the confusing array of different versions of Windows, it’s no surprise that consumers have steered clear of Windows 8 in recent years. Early versions of Windows 10 have already been leaked and previewed on the Internet, and has so far been very well received. We are expecting some great new features such as Cortana, it’s voice recognition software that comes with Windows Phone, to be included in the latest version.
We’ll know more tomorrow, but the official release date isn’t until later in the year. Nevertheless, it seems that Microsoft could be in for something of a renaissance with Windows 10, if it manages to pull it off…
Will you make the jump to Windows 10? Is Windows as relevant as it was 10 years ago?
Let us know in the comments what you make of Microsoft’s latest operating system.