10 Factors That Make Windows 10 a Game-Changer for Microsoft

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-01-22
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Factors That Make Windows 10 a Game-Changer for Microsoft
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    10 Factors That Make Windows 10 a Game-Changer for Microsoft

    By Don Reisinger
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    Windows 10 Will Be Free for the First Year of Availability
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    Windows 10 Will Be Free for the First Year of Availability

    Microsoft made the somewhat surprising announcement that Windows 10 will be free when it launches. Now, that comes with some caveats. First, users will only receive a free copy of Windows 10 if they're upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Furthermore, Microsoft is offering the deal for one year after the launch. When that period expires, the OS will presumably be a paid upgrade. But it's nice to see Microsoft changing the way it generates revenue from Windows.
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    Microsoft Publicly Discloses Project Spartan Web Browser
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    Microsoft Publicly Discloses Project Spartan Web Browser

    We've been hearing about it for weeks, but finally, Microsoft unveiled Project Spartan at its media briefing on Jan. 21. According to the company, Project Spartan will shed many of the bells and whistles built into Internet Explorer to streamline Web browsing. Microsoft also promises that Project Spartan will load Web pages more quickly and come with offline support.
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    Cortana Virtual Personal Assistant Comes to Windows 10
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    Cortana Virtual Personal Assistant Comes to Windows 10

    Cortana, the Siri-like voice-activated virtual personal assistant available in Windows Phone, will be coming to Windows 10. According to Microsoft, the assistant will provide everything from recommendations on content to personal reminders and access to Web search. It can also be activated via voice or by typing in requests and commands.
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    A Proper Marriage Between Windows 10 and Xbox
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    A Proper Marriage Between Windows 10 and Xbox

    Microsoft's Xbox gaming console will be a crucial component in making Windows 10 more popular among gamers. According to Microsoft, Windows 10 will come with full support for Xbox Live, meaning players who are on a PC can play with Xbox gamers. Windows 10 will also come with the ability to play Xbox One games streamed from their consoles to their PCs or tablets.
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    Office Going Touch-First With Windows 10
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    Office Going Touch-First With Windows 10

    Microsoft also confirmed that Office is getting a full makeover. The company said that Office for Windows 10 will be universal, meaning it can work cross-platform, and will come with a "touch-first experience." The productivity suite is also getting a makeover for desktop users who don't want to work with touch-screens. But it sounds like Microsoft wants to provide equal support for people who want to work with a touch-screen or a keyboard and mouse.
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    Continuum Will Make Two-in-Ones More Appealing
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    Continuum Will Make Two-in-Ones More Appealing

    One of the big challenges for customers who have purchased two-in-one PCs that can act as both notebooks and tablets is that Windows 8 users had a difficult time transitioning from one form to another. Windows 10, however, will come with an embedded feature called Continuum that automatically recognizes whether users are on a two-in-one and whether it is running in tablet or notebook mode. From there, Windows 10 will adapt to the mode and provide the relevant experience.
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    Windows 10 Is Microsoft's First Truly Cross-Platform OS
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    Windows 10 Is Microsoft's First Truly Cross-Platform OS

    When Satya Nadella outlined his plans for Microsoft in 2014, he said that the company must be willing to be platform-agnostic. Then, it's no surprise that all of the built-in apps in Windows 10—from Photos to Maps—will come with the same look and feel, regardless of what type of device Windows 10 is running on. More importantly, all content generated with those applications will be saved in Microsoft's cloud-storage service OneDrive, which will allow users to pick up where they left off between devices.
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    HoloLens Will Enable Windows 10 Users to Work in 3D Virtual Environment
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    HoloLens Will Enable Windows 10 Users to Work in 3D Virtual Environment

    Although it's a stand-alone product, the HoloLens could be a groundbreaking way for Microsoft to showcase the value of Windows 10 for different device types. HoloLens is a wireless head-mounted Windows 10 device that enables users to interact to view and interact with virtual 3D objects. The device works with its own self-contained computing power and processes terabytes of data in real time. It should be interesting to see how well the HoloLens works with a variety of applications.
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    Surface Hub Will Make Its Way to the Enterprise
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    Surface Hub Will Make Its Way to the Enterprise

    Microsoft is targeting the enterprise with Windows 10 through a variety of hardware and software. However, one of the more interesting moves might be its Surface Hub, essentially a massive 84-inch touch-sensitive tablet that can be mounted on a wall or positioned on a table. Because Windows 10 can be used on a variety of devices, Microsoft has found a way to optimize the software for large-screen devices—55 inches and 84 inches—to support work team collaboration among other applications. Surface Hub includes support for white-boarding, remote conferencing, presentations, Web browsing and more.
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    Microsoft Finally Shoots a Major Shot Over the Bow
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    Microsoft Finally Shoots a Major Shot Over the Bow

    When everything is taken into consideration about Microsoft's Windows 10 rollout Jan. 21, it's clear that the software company is preparing a major departure from the way it has marketed Windows for more than 25 years. It is showing that it understands that it needed to make major changes to its business model to try to keep Windows relevant in the era of intense competition in the field of mobile devices, mobile operating systems and cloud services. CEO Satya Nadella said last year that mobile and the cloud were extremely important to the company's future. Now, it's clear that Microsoft has taken that message to heart, and it's ready to move away from the old software industry business models.
 

Microsoft has now made one thing clear to consumers, enterprise customers, PC vendors and competitors: It has evaluated the Windows ecosystem, discovered what it has done wrong and will try to fix those problems in its upcoming operating system, Windows 10. Although Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 last year, the company provided significant details on the operating system during a special press event Jan. 21. Microsoft confirmed several rumors—for example, that the operating system will come with the Project Spartan Web browser and include cross-platform functionality with the Xbox One. Microsoft also announced an important, but perhaps somewhat surprising, revelation: Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for one year to current Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. With Windows 10, one could argue that Microsoft is showcasing what it has talked about for the last year—that it wants to be a cloud- and mobile-focused company that uses Windows as a vehicle for achieving that.  The tech giant appears to be well on its way to reaching that goal. The following slides examine 10 factors that make Windows 10 a game-changer for Microsoft.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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