Windows 10 Hope: Unified Robust Platform Without Windows 8 Mistakes

Jon C. Ogg

The news that Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) has unveiled its next version of Windows did not exactly command the same amount of fanfare as past operating system releases. The updated system is likely to be somewhat refreshing for Window loyalists who did not want to make the transition to Windows 8. Speaking of which, you may have noticed that there is no Windows 9 — straight to 10!

What is obvious here is that Microsoft is fighting the likes of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) on the desktops and office environment and in the mobile environment. It is also fighting Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) on lower end systems. The biggest problem with Windows 8 wasn’t new CEO Satya Nadella’s fault, but not having a traditional start button and making it look like an operating system for tablets just made it a me-too operating system. As one friend said, “Windows 8 gave me the opportunity to finally switch to Apple.”

Traditional legacy Windows from Windows 7 and earlier operating systems may or may not want to move to a touch screen. They certainly gave no inclination to switch to Windows 8. So, what exactly will Windows 9 (or Windows 10) really look like?

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Satya Nadella has outlined his general vision for Microsoft, and now it comes down to execution. A recent interview with Steve Ballmer was supportive of Nadella’s plans, but it came with the admission that it takes years before anyone knows if a turnaround under a new CEO was successful for a company of this size.

With such a strong emphasis on cloud and mobile in Nadella’s directional moves, the question is how much different things can be. It would seem to be safe to assume that Windows 10 would be geared mostly toward larger screen formats rather than tiny screens. That isn’t the case if you read the update from Microsoft:

Windows 10 will run across an incredibly broad set of devices — from the Internet of Things, to servers in enterprise datacenters worldwide. Some of these devices have 4 inch screens — some have 80 inch screens — and some don’t have screens at all. Some of these devices you hold in your hand, others are ten feet away. Some of these devices you primarily use touch/pen, others mouse/keyboard, others controller/gesture — and some devices can switch between input types.

Microsoft said that Windows 10 is a unified approach — one store, one way for applications to be discovered, purchased and updated across all of these devices. The company also pledged that Windows 10 will be the most comprehensive platform ever, which comes with risks in devices that are less powerful than many new desktops.

Here are some of the Windows 10 features:

  • The START menu is back!
  • Everything runs in a familiar window.
  • Snap enhancements with a new quadrant layout.
  • A new task view button.
  • Ability to create multiple desktop designs.
  • Finds files faster

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Microsoft’s stock also now trades at a premium to peers, with a valuation of 17 times expected earnings for 2015. Its shares have also moved up roughly 30% since Nadella took control. At some point the stock may only move up on execution rather than on directional indications.