What will Windows 9 say about Microsoft's new CEO?

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivers a keynote address during the 2014 Microsoft Build developer conference

Next month, Microsoft is expected to unveil a new version of its Windows operating system. Since it released Windows 8, Microsoft has gotten a new CEO, Satya Nadella, and the next iteration of Windows could say a lot about his vision for the company.

Microsoft’s customers – especially its corporate customers – didn’t exactly embrace Windows 8.

“If anything, the operating system tended to get in the way more than help you get your work done,” says Al Gillen, a tech analyst with IDC. Windows 8 was designed for touchscreens, but many users still rely on PCs with keyboards.

According to Brendan Barnicle, with Pacific Crest Securities, while the next version of Windows is sure to look different, in a way, that is beside the point.

“You know, I think the biggest difference is going to be around distribution, where we start to see something that is genuinely a cloud-based version,” he says.

Microsoft’s new CEO has adopted a “Cloud First” strategy, and he has also made some personnel changes since he started. Morningstar analyst Norman Young says Nadella has remade the company’s engineering department, and that is reflected in the timing of this release.

“Usually, development times for operating systems for Microsoft took multiple years,” he notes.

Analysts say Microsoft is moving toward introducing a new version of its operating system annually.


What will Windows 9 look like? A collection of the rumors.

The rumor mill is full of tidbits about what exactly Windows 9 will look like. As for Marketplace, we hope it'll look something like this:

But we digress. The real Windows 9, a complete update of the operating system, will attempt to have more unification across devices (confirmed), and much less Jeff Bridges (unconfirmed).

Here are some of the more prominent rumored features of Windows 9:

It will be a lot less "charm"-ing: Windows is reportedly removing the "charms bar" completely from the desktop version for computers and laptops.

Virtual desktops: There are also reports that the the newest version will feature virtual interfaces so users don't gunk up their main window while running multiple apps.

Speaking of desktops...Microsoft is allegedly removing the desktop for mobile versions of the OS.

And move over Siri: Cortana, Microsoft's version of Siri, is rumored to be up and running for computers and tablets as part of the new OS.

You can expect all this and more...on September 30th (allegedly).

But remember, until the actual release of Microsoft 9, these are all just rumors.

Let's all hope that the new system will mark the return of a familiar friend:

 

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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