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Microsoft woos developers with ‘re-blended’ Windows


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SAN FRANCISCO – Microsoft on Wednesday courted application makers with a “re-blended” version of the overhauled Windows 8 operating system released late last year.

Windows 8.1 incorporated feedback from users and developers, and came with the promise that the US software giant was speeding up its release cycle to adapt to the dizzying pace of innovation in consumer technology.

“We pushed boldly in Windows 8 and got lots of feedback,” Microsoft chief executive Steven Ballmer said while kicking off the company’s BUILD developers conference in San Francisco.

“Users said ‘Why don’t you go refine the blend?,” he said. “We will show you a refined blend of our desktop experience and our modern experience.”

Cheers burst from the audience when Ballmer assured them that changes in Windows 8.1 included a return of the “Start” button icon on screens that provided shortcuts to commands and applications.

Microsoft made a preview version of Windows 8.1 available for developers online at preview.windows.com and said this was just the beginning of a shift to “rapid release” cycles for software.

“Rapid release cadences are absolutely essential to what we are doing,” Ballmer said.

“It is about the transformation that we are going through as a company to move at an absolutely rapid release cycle; our transformation from a software company to a company building software-powered devices and services.”

Windows 8.1 remains true to the vision of an operating system tuned for touch-screen controls and multi-gadget lifestyles increasingly revolving around tablets and smartphones, according to Microsoft.

“When we rolled out Windows we talked about touch, touch, touch,” Ballmer said, noting that when people went to stores there was a dearth of Windows-powered touch computers.

He said there would be a “proliferation” of small Windows tablets released in the coming months.

Microsoft used the keynote presentation before BUILD’s six thousand attendees to showcase Windows-powered devices ranging from Nokia Lumia smartphones to Lenovo and Acer devices as well as Microsoft’s own Surface Pro tablet.

“You will see an outpouring of new devices that are notebook computers in every respect yet have touch fully integrated and usable,” Ballmer said.

Microsoft also announced that it was opening its Bing Internet search engine to developers so they can harness its capabilities to power features inside applications.

Microsoft is keen to tap into the creative talent of software developers behind hip, helpful, or fun ‘apps’ that can dictate the success of failure of smartphones, tablets and other Internet-linked consumer gadgets.

New-generation Apple software for iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macintosh computers was showcased at a Worldwide Developers Conference here earlier this month, just weeks after a Google event starring Android and Chrome.

Ballmer said that the number of apps in the Windows Store will top 100,000 this month, while downloads have climbed into the hundreds of millions.

“The number of apps we see coming into the store is phenomenal,” Ballmer said.

Microsoft is under pressure to adapt to a huge shift in how people engage with computers, according to Forrester analyst Charles Golvin.

Smartphones and tablets have vanquished the days when people devoted the bulk of computer time to Windows-powered desktop or laptop machines.

“Any talk of the personal computer being dead is overblown and ridiculous,” Golvin said.

“What matters is being everywhere. PCs still matter; tablets matter, and smartphones matter most if you look at the amount of time people are spending in front of screens.”

The overhauled Windows 8 operating system released in November was designed to power the array Internet-linked devices, but some people balked at having to adapt to the new “metro” tile-style user interface.

Some modifications in Windows 8.1 were made to return features that were missed, such as the beloved “Start” button.

“Microsoft has to convince people there are benefits to the pain of adjusting to Windows 8,” Golvin said.


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  • RegineMarfie

    “We pushed boldly in Windows 8 and got lots of feedback,” Microsoft
    chief executive Steven Ballmer said while kicking off the company’s
    BUILD developers conference in San Francisco.

    ******************

    and the final verdict was You sucked!!….

  • The Factory

    Two weeks ago, I stood at the crossroads and tried to decide whether I should buy a new pc-tablet hybrid or a macbook pro. I currently own a pc and looking to upgrade. And after months and months of thinking and researching and testing various different platforms and operating systems, I have come to a conclusion–it is time for a change.

    Although I have loved the pc all my life, and use it every single day at work, in my personal life, I have made a conscious choice to adapt the new apple of my eyes. Great colors, amazing ease of use and very intuitive. And that’s just the beginning… I can’t wait to for new discoveries to present themselves and new secrets and new commands and new shortcuts and new editing tools and new filing system and new laptop bag and new… well, I think I’ve said enough.

    • jpmd88

      good for you. Once you go Apple there is no turning back.

      • The Factory

        Thanks! I agree!!!

  • band1do

    Microsoft ‘tries’ to inovate, but it causes more BS in the market. They try to innovate like apple but failed, example is windows 8. They tried to innovate Xbox One (FailBox One) but failed and lost most consumers to PS. Plus with Windows and Failbox, you gotta buy this and that as ad on extras. For me to buy the lates iOS for my Mac’s, it only costs AUD$20.95. To upgrade from windows 7 to 8, try $200 plus. To buy a PS3 it costs roughly cheaper than the 360, but you gotta buy a rechargeable wireless battery for the 360 (AUD30 for a generic brand on ebay from HK), then I had to buy AV cables for my stereo as I dont have a HDMI amp (AUD40 generic from eBay HK), but with the PS, its all standard. Go to hell Bill. Stick your brand on the shelf and retire. You might be the richest man again, but we the consumers will not fall for BS. Oh and on a final note… MICROSOFT COPIED THE iOS TEMPLATE AND THE SONY PS. Thats all they do, copy, fail and charge more for an overpriced product that’s not even worth the cents…

    • jpmd88

      How can you say they lost with Xbox One when the console has not even been released yet? Pre-orders are not the sole basis on whether or not a new system has failed. Granted the PS4 is much cheaper ( by $100) from the Xbox One, the latter comes with a bundled kinect system which if compared to the PS4 is not included with their version. Moreover, Microsoft no longer requires users to log on to the internet to be able to play Xbox One games. They also have allowed the same latitude with PS4 users who want to share their Xbox one titles with others. Granted this was flip flopping at its worst ( Microsoft should have known better) the Xbox One is still a very powerful new gaming console featuring extremely fast graphics processing that virtually diminishes load times to zero.

      Please be more factual with your observations as there is no room for fan boys opinions. Better save that for the gaming forums.

      Oh and BTW, you do not have to use rechargeable batteries for the 360 all the time as it does come with cables to connect the controller to the console hence no need for the rechargeables. The small inconvenience of having to use rechargeables if you do want to go wireless is nothing compared to the joy of playing anywhere in the room without having wires to limit your movement as with the PS3.

      Peace.

      • band1do

        *clap…… clap….. clap…..* Hear that? Thats the sound of a small clap in the audience for your comment. You obviously are under 20 and have never bought a console in your life much less have your own new PC. Don’t pretend to be a balikbayan either, your english (Flip Flopping???) is quite immature and do check your stats on console configurations again. On a final note, Re-chargeable batteries are for people who share their games time with others that PS pioneered and guess what… gasp…. FailBox is copying it for the FailBox One. The final score…. XBox 1 – PlayStation 4.

  • Vertumnus

    This just a way to sell more software from Microsoft. I didn’t like windows 7 and I don’t like windows 8. Sure visual wise it’s better than window 95, 98, XP, and Vista but whenever Microsoft releases new version of windows, there’s always some software incompatibility issues not to mention updating hardware drivers. Sometimes the hardware manufacturer don’t have updated drivers and you end up using generic ones. I still prefer windows xp. Highly customizable, very stable and proven workhorse of the windows family.

    • Mux

      Agreed

  • Mux

    Windows 3.1 and below did not have a Start button. So those of who had experienced it then complained like hell when Windows 95 first came out with a totally unfamiliar interface. It should be easy for us old timers to use Windows 8 with or without a Start button.

    • foreignerph

      Why not revert to DOS 6 then?

      • Mux

        Actually, I still do have some DOS machines. Some of them are used for simple Data entry and I still know how to use the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files.

  • GustoKoHappyKa

    I updated my 7yrs old Desktop with Windows 8 and now it’s faster and better, even bootup within 20secs.
    Even my 3yrs old daughter likes to use it because it’s easier for her to use the Metro Interface.

    • Manuel_II

      I could agree more, the Laptop i bought with windows 8 start up less than 10secs. after hitting the power button, but thats about it, i hate the rest.

      • GustoKoHappyKa

        Sanayan lang yan sir… muscle memory kasi… we are used to the same UI design for almost 10++yrs kaya hirap mag adjust… the change/jumping of UI from desktop to metro is also hard to get used at first.
        yung mga new users/kids na hindi expose sa dating UI mas madaling nakakagamit talaga base on the experiment I did with my daughter and other kids sa lugar namin.

  • Manuel_II

    i bought one Laptop with windows 8 last month, and it is really bad, i gave it to my wife (LOL) and bought a new one with windows 7, :D

    • RyanE

      One problem I observed with Win8 is IE10. There are compatibility issues with lower versions, especially when doing online banking transactions.

      If banks and other business establishments will not update to Win8 and IE10, then it’s quite difficult to use Win8 for our online transactions.

      • Scar Mind

        presss F12 a pop box below will appear then select Browser mode on middle top select your preffered version of IE or install Firefox/Chrome for better internet browsing.

  • Wilf Tarquin

    Actually the beta testers, developers, and users all screamed “THIS SUCKS!” and Microsoft spent a year screaming “NO U SUCK!” back at them.

    With 8.1 Microsoft has done the absolute minimum backtracking of the worst misfeatures of Windows 8 it thinks is necessary to get people to stop hating Windows 8. I do not know if the absolute minimum will be sufficient.



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