Microsoft Windows Update: In With The Old, In With The New
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Executive Vice President of the operating system group, Terry Myerson said Wednesday that the company would be bringing back a Start menu and windowed Metro-Style/Modern apps to a future update to Windows 8.1, according to ZDNet.
The announcement came during Myerson’s keynote address at Microsoft’s Build 2014 show. The tweaks, one nostalgic, the other forward-looking, were obviously designed to increase both use and acceptance of Microsoft’s latest OS.
While it wasn’t clear when these changes would happen, they were clearly not part of the Windows 8.1 update released Wednesday to MSDN subscribers and available to the public April 8.
That update did include a number of fixes designed to make Windows 8 easier to use with a keyboard and mouse. Windows users who prefer either not to use smartphones or tablet computers for their heavy computing tasks have long requested these fixes.
In a follow-up blog post to his keynote, Myerson said the tweaks he discussed would instead appear in "the next iteration of Windows."
Whether that referred to a forthcoming Windows 8.1 update or Windows 9, known as Threshold, was not clear. According to ZDNet, the next update to Windows 8.1 could come yet this year while Windows 9 was not expected until sometime in the spring of 2015.
In his keynote, Myerson also said developers would be able to build “Universal Apps” that would also work on Windows Phone and Xbox devices, as well as within the Windows OS. The “Universal Apps” approach provides a pathway for Microsoft to bring all its various versions of Windows together.
To help bolster that notion Myerson also said the company planned to provide the Windows OS free for Windows phones, tablets, and PCs with 9 inch or smaller screen sizes. He did not indicate if this referred to OEM pricing, end-user pricing or both.
Meanwhile, on Thursday The Register published a photo of a screenshot Myerson displayed during his keynote.
The photo appeared to show both a traditional looking Windows 7 Start Menu immersed in a Windows 8 Start Screen. Also included were several Live Tiles, as well as a column of app icons, including what appear to be Windows Store apps.
Finally, Myerson said, the company was working an “Internet of Things” version of Windows that would be made available at no cost when it was ready for release.
At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.
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