or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Software › Mac OS X › Looking to breathe life into Windows, Microsoft shows off 8.1 update with Start Menu
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Looking to breathe life into Windows, Microsoft shows off 8.1 update with Start Menu

post #1 of 99
Thread Starter 
Microsoft on Wednesday launched its latest effort to reverse the fortunes of its Windows platform, showing off a line of new devices and unveiling Windows 8.1, a new build designed to boost interest in the company's underperforming Windows 8.



At its Build developer conference at San Francisco's Moscone Center, Microsoft looked to woo developers and win over customers who have been reluctant to upgrade to its newest operating system. As the company confirmed in the past, Windows 8.1 will feature the return of the Start Menu, as well as the option to bypass the touch-centric Modern UI and boot directly to the desktop.

The changes represent possibly the biggest about-face in the history of the software giant, which rolled out Windows 8 last year with the intention of reversing a trend that has seen consumers increasingly opting for smartphones and tablets while the PC market struggles. The pivot back toward Windows standards like boot-to-desktop and the Start Menu has been described by some observers as the biggest reversal since New Coke.

The Build conference came just eight months after the company's last developer conference, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer pointed to a new "rapid pace of innovation" at the firm as the reason.

"It's about the transformation that we are going through as a company to move to an absolutely rapid release cycle," Ballmer said in his address to kick off Microsoft's keynote. Microsoft typically iterates Windows every three years or so, but the new version will likely release before Windows 8 is even one year old.

Ballmer in his initial address took the time to show a range of devices running Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8 software. Wednesday's presentation, though, focused little on Microsoft's struggling smartphone OS.

Instead, Ballmer simply mentioned and showed off several new handsets ? including Nokia's Lumia 925 and several low-cost handsets ? before moving on to Windows 8.1. The largest news on Microsoft's smartphone front, perhaps, was the arrival of Windows Phone 8 handsets from Nokia and Samsung on Sprint, the United States' third-largest wireless carrier.

growl


Ballmer attempted to put a positive spin on one of Windows 8's largest problems, the dearth of apps specifically designed for the platform. Windows 8 runs legacy Windows apps in a desktop environment but, due to low overall adoption rates for Windows 8 and Windows RT, developers have been reluctant to devote the resources to developing apps that run in the new tile-centric user interface.

"Within this month," Ballmer said, "I think we'll pass the 100,000 application mark in the Windows Store."

While 100,000 apps would represent a milestone for the platform, Ballmer's statement is a tacit admission of Windows 8's struggles. Launching Windows 8 last year, the company predicted there would be 100,000 apps in the Windows Store by February, with some 400 million Windows 8 devices sold by July of this year.

Over the course of the presentation, Ballmer and other Microsoft representatives showed off a range of form factors running the newest version of Windows, including iPad mini-sized tablets, touch-enabled all-in-one desktops, and convertible hybrids with detachable keyboard docks.

Windows Vice President Antoine Leblond took the time to specifically call out Apple in showing off a new Samsung Ultrabook, noting the device's high pixel density display.

"It blows away a MacBook Retina," Leblond said, holding up the Samsung device, which has a higher resolution screen than Apple's Retina MacBook Pros, as well as battery life comparable to the new MacBook Airs, "and it has a touchscreen."

Aside from the return of the Start Menu and the boot-to-desktop option, Microsoft showed off a number of tweaks and additions to its operating system. The Windows team has worked to improve touchscreen text entry on their devices, showing off a gesture based auto-suggest interaction feature, allowing users to swipe along the keyboard in order to select a suggested word.

Microsoft also showed off increased Bing integration, saying that the search engine has consistently grown market share in the United States since its introduction. Bing powers the full search experience throughout Windows 8.1, with features built in to show not only links to content, but also different ways to interact with that content.

The latter portion of the presentation was devoted to showing off Microsoft's vision for its Xbox One console. The company demonstrated a number of game-creating utilities that interface with Windows 8 and Microsoft's Smart Glass app in order to let players build their own game worlds and experiences.

The presentation ended with a summation of what the company is trying to accomplish across the multiple devices it supports and services it provides. "One experience, on every device for everything important in life," was the motto projected on stage, and Ballmer ended on an optimistic note to drive home that point for developers.

The Microsoft chief predicted that the company would sell "literally hundreds of millions of Windows devices this year."
post #2 of 99

Hahahahahahahahaha....(deep breath)...hahahahahahaha!

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

 

Get the lowdown on the coming collapse:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45010

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

 

Get the lowdown on the coming collapse:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45010

Reply
post #3 of 99
"It [the Samsung Ultrabook] blows away a MacBook Retina", huh? In what respect - the number of pixels on a spec sheet? 99% of the population can't distinguish individual pixels in a Retina display as it is - let alone an even higher resolution. Seems like a waste of processing power to me. Marketing gimmick.
post #4 of 99

Despite people not liking Microsolf, imo they have the best ecosystem after Apple because they offer a complete set from PC, phones, tablets to gaming. The only mistake they made is not allowing old school desktop on PC's. They are correcting this ATM, but the damage has been done. They are missing windows 8 Tv's with Xbox integration.

 

After than Google Nexus hardware on android is a nice ecosystem. I would not buy an android device that is not Nexus to have a clear path for OS updates. If google would make Nexus TV's with integrated gaming, and put more effort in Chrome OS they could have a decent ecosystem too.

 

On the Apple side, Apple is missing a TV with integrated gaming and an Apple TV box with gaming. Hopefully, games and apps build with the game remotes API will make it to the Apple TV at the next updates.

post #5 of 99
I wonder if it's possible to make something more convoluted than this.

Which of us is the fisherman and which the trout?

Reply

Which of us is the fisherman and which the trout?

Reply
post #6 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Hahahahahahahahaha....(deep breath)...hahahahahahaha!

well said...

post #7 of 99
I was hoping the video would be more "info" and less "mercial". I couldn't watch more than a few seconds of it. Which is a pity, because I'd have liked to have actually learned something. Sadly....
post #8 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

Despite people not liking Microsolf, imo they have the best ecosystem after Apple because they offer a complete set from PC, phones, tablets to gaming. The only mistake they made is not allowing old school desktop on PC's. ...

 

Fairy tales can come true,

It can happen you

If you're young at heart....

post #9 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post The Microsoft chief predicted that the company would sell "literally hundreds of millions of Windows devices this year."

 

Which they may well do. But it won't be because people actually like Win 8.1. There's just a certain sales momentum that Microsoft can count on for Windows; whether or not it's actually diminishing, it's still something they can count on in 2013.

post #10 of 99
That's a seriously, deeply confusing video/advert.

The thing they are forgetting here is that "different and new" only attracts new users if it's eventually something one can figure out and if it's the "latest and greatest." Ads like this perk up a person's interest only (because they suck at explaining anything). Windows 8 is neither of those things.

You could do a confusing, jazzy ad for iOS like this for instance, and it would work because it would make people investigate the OS which they would then find is both ubiquitous and easy to use. That's a sale right there.

This will make people go check out Windows 8 (maybe), but when they find it and realise that it's seriously confusing, problematic software that almost no one is actually using ... no sale.

They would be better off with the type of adverts that explain the OS and why it's better and so forth.
post #11 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

Despite people not liking Microsolf, imo they have the best ecosystem after Apple because they offer a complete set from PC, phones, tablets to gaming. The only mistake they made is not allowing old school desktop on PC's.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Me View Post

 

Fairy tales can come true,

It can happen you

If you're young at heart....

 

He's right, though. It's partly the strength of that ecosystem that kept Macs from being able to make significant market share gains for years. And it's still at play. The reason Apple is doing so well now is that we were able to sidestep the Windows behemoth and create new markets like iPod and iOS.

post #12 of 99

more dub-step..... yawn

post #13 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by zroger73 View Post

"It [the Samsung Ultrabook] blows away a MacBook Retina", huh? In what respect - the number of pixels on a spec sheet? 99% of the population can't distinguish individual pixels in a Retina display as it is - let alone an even higher resolution. Seems like a waste of processing power to me. Marketing gimmick.

 

Also, if it's a Samsung device, it's probably using a pen-tile display, and thus the pixel count is basically just a lie.  

post #14 of 99

Well, that will really sell Windows to the masses. Now its oh, so clear.

post #15 of 99

This is Microsoft's game to lose. They do have a compelling ecosystem, have great support, and develop good programs to train armies of support techs/engineers. They stumble but recover. Their migration to Office 365 and Azure are widely praised. 

 

Few individuals have to buy Windows directly and most will just use what comes on their new PCs or what the IT department gives them. (Even if they bring their own they're likely logging onto a Windows network or connecting to a Microsoft mail server). Microsoft is going to be able to recover from the really poor migration to Windows 8 with revenue intact.

 

Anyway, Windows 8.1 isn't going to correct all the mistakes of Windows 8 but IMO they really don't have to. They really, really should but they don't have to.

 

Edit: grammar

post #16 of 99
An ultrabook with higher resolution than a retina MBP, and more battery life? How thick is this thing? Because if it's thin, has a high res screen, and has all day battery life, then they're lying or made an incredible breakthrough that they've been keeping secret from the rest of the industry.
post #17 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

 

 

He's right, though. It's partly the strength of that ecosystem that kept Macs from being able to make significant market share gains for years. And it's still at play. The reason Apple is doing so well now is that we were able to sidestep the Windows behemoth and create new markets like iPod and iOS.

Exactly....the Intel Macs...then the iPhone......

Tallest Skil:


"Eventually Google will have their Afghanistan with Oracle and collapse"

"The future is Apple, Google, and a third company that hasn't yet been created."


 


 

Reply

Tallest Skil:


"Eventually Google will have their Afghanistan with Oracle and collapse"

"The future is Apple, Google, and a third company that hasn't yet been created."


 


 

Reply
post #18 of 99
Just installed it, looks pretty damn good. The update site said that my Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet II wasn't supported yet but I threw caution to the wind and did it anyway. I like to live on the edge. So far everything seems to work so not sure what they meant by it. The best feature is the control panel, I no longer have to go to the desktop to change advanced settings, everything I need seems to be on the Metro side. The new Start button is pretty useless, it just takes you to the Metro interface, stupid. Love the new side by side multitasking, I can now have 50/50, 60/40, whatever floats my boat apps on the screen, much better then the 80/20. The Store is a huge improvement and is finally fast. There are a bunch of new bundled apps but I haven't gone threw them yet, will report back when I get a chance to review them. The overall system got a pretty big speed boost, especially for the Atom CPU's, a lot of lag I was having before with apps like Chrome are now all but gone.

So far I really like this update, in fact I think it might be worth while for some of you Windows 8 haters to revisit it. Looks better, behaves better, has a lot more functionality and is turning out to be a pretty nice OS if you have a tablet to run it on.
When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
Reply
When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
Reply
post #19 of 99
Windows 8 is THE ugliest OS I have ever seen!
PS Sorry, just couldn't help myself
post #20 of 99

still a fugly, unusable, abomination of a UI.  OSX Mavericks owns Windows 8.whatever so bad it hurts.

post #21 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullhead View Post

still a fugly, unusable, abomination of a UI.  OSX Mavericks owns Windows 8.whatever so bad it hurts.

Well until I can have a tablet with OSX on it to run desktop apps I'll settle with Windows 8.1.
When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
Reply
When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
Reply
post #22 of 99
It seems to me that Microsoft is starting a steep decline in Windows sales. More and more business applications are running directly in the browser (agnostic) and may only require Windows at the server level. The current trend is still going AnyDevice.

My guess is that Microsoft will lose the Windows stronghold within 5 years, but will regain strength with cloud applications when SharePoint and Office 365 will become mature and usefull on all operating systems. They should have started offering offline content editing for all platforms by now. The rest is done in the webbrowser and mobile apps.
Let's not forget that MS can still execute on strategy (yes, sometimes poorly) with a lot of cash at hand.
Edited by cykz - 6/26/13 at 1:12pm
post #23 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by zroger73 View Post

"It [the Samsung Ultrabook] blows away a MacBook Retina", huh? In what respect - the number of pixels on a spec sheet? 99% of the population can't distinguish individual pixels in a Retina display as it is - let alone an even higher resolution. Seems like a waste of processing power to me. Marketing gimmick.

Don't forget the 74% (if I remember from the press release) sRGB gamut on the Samsung VS the near 100% sRGB on the MacBook Pro. Slightly sharper display much worse color.

 

Oh, and one of them is actually shipping.

post #24 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post

Oh, and one of them is actually shipping.

That's a silly thing to say, it's not like it's phantom-ware. It will ship soon. That's like going to a HP Z820 Workstation forum and saying at least it's actually shipping when talking about the new Mac Pro.
Edited by Relic - 6/26/13 at 1:23pm
When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
Reply
When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
Reply
post #25 of 99
The preview add makes Win8.1 both look way too busy and provide far too little information in order to put in more images.

And why are they using the bass and drums from a bad version of The Knack's 1979 song, "My Sharona?"
post #26 of 99
Windows 8 is the best windows ever.

...like saying, "that deuce my cat just pinched off is the best cat turd ever."
post #27 of 99

I see the Metro interface in screenshots and videos and think, "that looks pretty neat".

 

Then I actually use it and think, "that's a piece of shit".

 

I think the problem is (and you see it in the ads for the tablets), Microsofts got it in their heads that were all ultra cool, urban hipsters who incorporate dancing with our tablets in meetings, and obviously want to constantly change our desktop look and feel to show how hip and individual we are.


Unfortunately for them, most of us aren't hip and individual, and like our desktop interface to just be nice and clean with things spaced out sensibly.  So we can get stuff done, other than dancing.

post #28 of 99

Possibly the most disorientating video I've ever tried to watch.

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #29 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Povilas View Post

I wonder if it's possible to make something more convoluted than this.

 

I'd say it would require some work. **** me that video was so bad I'm even surprised.

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #30 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post


Well until I can have a tablet with OSX on it to run desktop apps I'll settle with Windows 8.1.

 

Why would you want that? For a desktop OS and laptop is far far far far far.... superior.

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #31 of 99

600 Million Windows 8 devices sold?  Huh?   They only have 100 Million WIndows 8 users. 

post #32 of 99
Sometimes old is just old. Doesn't mean it's bad, just been around so long people see it differently compared to what's perceived as new. No matter how many facelifts you give Zsa-Zsa, she's still old. Windows Whatever is still Windows. Apple was smart in not making its mobile OS another cat. iOS is seen as the fresh face.
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
Reply
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
Reply
post #33 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by zroger73 View Post

"It [the Samsung Ultrabook] blows away a MacBook Retina", huh? In what respect - the number of pixels on a spec sheet? 99% of the population can't distinguish individual pixels in a Retina display as it is - let alone an even higher resolution. Seems like a waste of processing power to me. Marketing gimmick.

 

Samsung's new ultrabook does what everyone had hoped the just refreshed Macbook Air would do, so that is a better comparison. We will have to wait another year to see if Apple can catch up to where Samsung is now.

post #34 of 99
"The changes represent possibly the biggest about-face in the history of the software giant . . " says Kevin.

Now is not the time for subtlety, now is the time of grand statements. Unfortunately, I am lost for words.

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

Reply

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

Reply
post #35 of 99

Wow, and Apple forum on an Apple blog with a bunch of people who hate Windows.  Shocked....1biggrin.gif

 

Seriously though, I've used Windows 8 more now and it's awkward.  I had to keep hitting the Windows key and Windows key+D to get back to places where I knew what I am doing.  I was actually a pretty big fan of Windows 7, but as a recent convert to Mac, Windows 8 feels foreign.  I've already had to transition from Mac to Windows and I believe that was an easier task than transitioning from Windows 7 to Windows 8.

 

Honestly, I have no idea what they were thinking with Windows 8.  

 

I'd like to get my hands on this to see if it feels better to a Windows 7 user on a mouse and keyboard.  If it doesn't feel more natural though, just giving me back a button isn't much help.  Honestly, the bottom left hand corner had been updated to trigger almost exactly what this seems to be adding, there just wasn't a button.  I hope there's more substance.

post #36 of 99

"Literally Hundreds of Millions…"
"This Year"

 

Marking my calendar for the hilarity sure to ensue in 12 months.
 

post #37 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by zroger73 View Post

"It [the Samsung Ultrabook] blows away a MacBook Retina", huh? In what respect - the number of pixels on a spec sheet? 99% of the population can't distinguish individual pixels in a Retina display as it is - let alone an even higher resolution. Seems like a waste of processing power to me.

Marketing gimmick.


"Marketing gimmicks" = Microsoft core values

post #38 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyPaul View Post

 

Samsung's new ultrabook does what everyone had hoped the just refreshed Macbook Air would do, so that is a better comparison. We will have to wait another year to see if Apple can catch up to where Samsung is now.

 

Not sure I understand this line of thought.

 

While there certainly are some interesting competitors that actually come up with interesting ideas, Samsung is certainly none of them. There is absolutely no catching up to do whatsoever, except if that sentiments means going cheap. Samsung has not innovated anything, but only ever copied, stolen and incremented spec sheets with a twist of seemingly innovative features that turned out nothing more than useless gimmicks.

post #39 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post

This is Microsoft's game to lose. They do have a compelling ecosystem, have great support, and develop good programs to train armies of support techs/engineers. They stumble but recover. Their migration to Office 365 and Azure are widely praised. 

 

Few individuals have to buy Windows directly and most will just use what comes on their new PCs or what the IT department gives them. (Even if they bring their own they're likely logging onto a Windows network or connecting to a Microsoft mail server). Microsoft is going to be able to recover from the really poor migration to Windows 8 with revenue intact.

 

Anyway, Windows 8.1 isn't going to correct all the mistakes of Windows 8 but IMO they really don't have to. They really, really should but they don't have to.

 

Edit: grammar

 

That's all good and well, but that's not where the future lies. Consumers are rapidly shifting their focus to tablets and smartphones for much of the activity they used to do on desktop PCs. Microsoft is quite weak in these areas.

post #40 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by freediverx View Post

 

That's all good and well, but that's not where the future lies. Consumers are rapidly shifting their focus to tablets and smartphones for much of the activity they used to do on desktop PCs. Microsoft is quite weak in these areas.

 

I agree. The fact that Microsoft seems to think that all Consumers only ever used PCs for Office only adds to this.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Mac OS X
AppleInsider › Forums › Software › Mac OS X › Looking to breathe life into Windows, Microsoft shows off 8.1 update with Start Menu