Windows 11 - The Open Platform

 Windows 11 has been announced. In a virtual global livestream, the current head of Windows Panos Penay, showed off the new OS. 

This is a consumer Windows. The main thrust is to make Windows look "modern". Modern is always an ill-defined word for Microsoft, but it seeks to frame using a newer version as "modern" and everything thing else as "old". Obviously, from a marketing standpoint, everyone wants to be "modern". 

There is lots of eye candy to make it look beautiful. Under the new screens it is a variation of Windows 10 plus a lot of the 35 year legacy of a mature operating system. 

Consumers haven't been shown a lot a love by Microsoft. The core things consumers care about like music, video, mobile phones, personal tech, speakers, instant messaging and social media have been abandoned or de-emphasized. When WindowsPhone was discontinued you had to take the extra step of downloading apps on an iPhone or Android device to access Microsoft services. Other than Xbox, those services have been primarily for prosumers. That is people who need productivity applications at home. I am thinking here of students or people who are now part of a more hybrid work environment. many consumers do quite a lot on mobile phones with larger screens, iPads and, more recently, Chromebooks.

Microsoft say 1.3 billion devices are running Windows 10. The question not answered is how many of those use Windows just to launch a browser or perhaps manage photos. 

Windows 11 has a mission to make the operating system more relevant again to more users who don't just use a PC in the office. This means re-engaging with users with a fresh look, developers by re-imaging the Microsoft Store, and making it a platform people choose to use rather than get by default. 

In a recent interview for the Wall Street Journal, Satya Nadella, the CEO and Chairman of Microsoft, made the case for Windows 11 as the "open platform". Microsoft want software developers to build applications for Windows. Alternatively, they can build Android apps that will work in Windows. The Windows Subsystem for Linux allows a Linux kernel to run on a Windows PC. This means developers of software don't need to have a separate PC to work with some of the more popular web tools.

Even Apple got a shout. Nadella said he would like to see iMessage running in Windows. It's unlikely but the offer is on the table.

The last big release of Windows was in 2015. Windows 10 was released in the shadow of the failure of Windows 8 to transition the brand into the mobile world. Since then Windows hasn't had much of an advocate at Microsoft. The emphasis has been on business, cloud services and gaming. For people who use Windows every day as their primary computing device, this is big. 

Windows is being rebranded for the cloud world in which the PC is one device. Microsoft want to be the device you choose to use not because you are tied in to a specific brand. 


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