Why Microsoft is giving Windows 10 for free

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Microsoft Windows 10: India will have to wait for Siri-rival Cortana.

If you were hoping to use Cortana, Microsoft’s voice-activated digital assisstant in Windows 10 as soon as you upgrade, here’s some bad news: you’re going to have to wait. A few years after what could charitably be called a disastrous launch for Windows 8, Microsoft needs the new system to move forward while also making amends. Microsoft, which unveiled its much-awaited Windows 10 operating system globally and in-built Cortana today, has held back from launching the Siri rival in India. Windows 10 fixes many of those mistakes but still manages to incorporate enough new touches to plot a clear course to the more mobile, touchscreen-based future. That makes the best of Microsoft’s uniquely tricky position: It needs to design a system that appeases modern consumers who want changes and upgrades quickly, while still pleasing its business users who tend to be a bit more conservative when it comes to new systems.

Microsoft took the bold — and ultimately wrong — step of wiping this familiar feature out of existence in Windows 8 in favor of a full-screen grid of apps designed to be touchscreen friendly. But users are able to look at all of their programs, access the settings menu and pin things to the Start Menu or task bar — just as they were able to in older versions of Windows. Available as a free upgrade for existing users of Windows 7 and 8.1, the new operating system is part of Microsoft’s attempts to compete with rivals like Apple and Google. While an estimated 1.5 billion machines run Windows, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android based smartphones and tablets have emerged as strong competition to the Redmond-based firm.

With the new OS, Microsoft plans to offer a seamless experience to users across devices like PCs, tablets, smartphones and XBox (its gaming device). “Microsoft is presenting not just an OS, but an experience. It will help IT leaders work in a better manner as there will be seamless syncing across devices,” Gartner Principal Research Analyst Vishal Tripathi said. I can say this: In the week or so I spent with the system on a Surface Pro 3 provided by Microsoft for review, I wasn’t tempted to download other browsers. Its not only about the OS which is a concern for organizations it’s also about security, compatibility and manageability so many of them will adopt wait and watch strategy,” Tripathi said.

It’s the type of feature that you may not have known you wanted, but could get very useful over time if you want to quickly draw someone’s attention to a particular portion of a Web page. Microsoft has put its voice assistant, Cortana, into the core of Windows 10, offering a glimpse of what its more service-based release of Windows could look like in the future. Cortana — if you use her — is constantly updating you on your schedule and serving up news and other information based on your own preferences and other Microsoft services you use. The software can also let you know if there’s traffic on the way to your next meeting or set reminders based on the time, your location or even specific people.

Cortana has the potential to become very useful: Microsoft even talked to real-life personal assistants as it designed Cortana to figure out the best way to pull up relevant information. There are enough new features to tempt you even if you aren’t that into the fancy voice-controlled stuff, such as better search features and an overall better browser. Microsoft has said that this is essentially the “last Windows,” in the sense that from Windows 10 on, the tech giant will be releasing smaller upgrades more often — something Apple already does — to keep its system fresher for longer.

It’s familiar enough so that most people will probably feel comfortable upgrading, with a sprinkling of new user-centric features that shows Microsoft’s eyes are on the future. Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has been clear that it’s not enough for the company to get people using its products, it also wants them to enjoy using them.

Windows 10 has clearly been designed with that thought in mind — whether it’s enough to convince people to love their Windows PCs remains to be seen.

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