People sit in front of devices running the Microsoft Windows 8 operating system at a launch event of the system on October 25, 2012 in New York City.
People sit in front of devices running the Microsoft Windows 8 operating system at a launch event of the system on October 25, 2012 in New York City. - 
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Microsoft kicks off its developer’s conference today in San Francisco and the company has a lot products to tout. In the past year Microsoft released Surface, its first tablet, and Windows 8, which was supposed to catapult the company into the mobile age.  

But the buzz around today’s conference? The possible return of the “start” button -- it disappeared with Windows 8. That's a signal Microsoft's mobile efforts have fallen flat notes Ray Wang with Constellation Research. 

"They need something else out there to make their mark again as they try to recapture consumer interest," Wang says. 

For decades Microsoft dominated the consumer tech sector with Windows. But sales of desktop computers are down and Microsoft is at risk of losing its relevance.

Anurag Rana, an analyst at Bloomberg Industries, says Windows 8 hasn’t caught on with app developers either.

"The most important feature on any operating system that’s phone based or any other device is the number of apps," Rana says. 

Windows only has about 145,000 apps compared to more than 700,000 for Apple and Android. Rana says at today’s conference, Microsoft needs to get developers excited about more than the "start" button to compete.  

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