Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella gestures as he speaks during a forum at Tsinghua University in Beijing Sept. 25, 2014.


Microsoft Corp. plans to offer a glimpse of its vision for Windows this week, as its new CEO seeks to redefine the company and recover from missteps with its flagship operating system.

Although the new software won't be formally released until next year, analysts already consider its success crucial for Microsoft and Satya Nadella, who has made mobile devices and Internet-based services priorities since becoming CEO in February.

With its tablet-like touch controls, Windows 8 had been Microsoft's answer to slumping sales in personal computers amid a rising demand for mobile devices. But the company alienated many users by forcing radical behavioural changes. Research firm IDC even blamed Windows 8 for accelerating a decline in PC sales in the first full quarter following the system's release in October, 2012.

Story continues below advertisement

Microsoft has released updates that address some of the complaints, yet analytics firm Net Applications estimates that five out of six Windows users are still using something other than Windows 8.

The next major release will be the company's chance to regain its footing and show that Microsoft can embrace mobile devices without sacrificing the traditional computing experience.

"It's one of the most important launches that they will ever have," said Patrick Moorhead at the research firm Moor Insights and Strategy. "It's very important they get it right."

Microsoft is expected to give an early look at some new features Tuesday during an event the company has billed as a discussion about "what's next for Windows." The company hasn't said what it plans to call the new Windows version.

The San Francisco event is geared toward the business market. Separate sessions focused on home computer users and others will be held in the coming months. Analysts say the sessions are part of an effort by Microsoft to gather feedback and avoid the stumbles it made with Windows 8.

Even after two years of declining sales of personal computers, software licences for Windows are a key element of a business segment that contributes roughly 21 per cent of Microsoft's annual revenue – second only to sales of the company's commercial software.

Windows 8 introduced a host of new features for personal computers, including touch-screen functions that are now common with tablets. Many PC users, however, found the redesigned interface difficult to navigate, particularly with keyboards and mice on devices without touch screens. They also missed familiar controls, such as the "start" button that was a long-time component of previous Windows systems.

Story continues below advertisement

"It was a miscalculation on the part of Microsoft," said analyst Steve Kleynhans at the Gartner research firm. "You can't force people into a situation where everything they know changes."

Still, experts say Microsoft has good reason to design software that attempts to broaden its appeal to smartphone and tablet users. Although the company still dominates the PC industry, that market is barely growing. Meanwhile, Microsoft has gained little traction in a booming smartphone market dominated by Apple's iPhones and devices running Google's Android software.

Nadella has said he wants the next version of Windows to be a "single, converged operating system for screens of all sizes."

Microsoft currently has three main systems – Windows 8 for traditional computers and tablets, Windows Phone 8 for cellphones and Xbox for its gaming console. That makes more work for developers, who must create three versions of apps if they want to reach people on multiple devices. By unifying the underlying systems, software developers will be able to create apps for the various devices more easily. Consumers will also be able to switch devices more easily and avoid having to buy the same apps multiple times.

The new Windows is also expected to emphasize more software apps and services that are hosted on the Internet, or "in the cloud." Nadella has made the transition to cloud computing a priority.

But Microsoft will need to make the transition to a new Windows less jarring for the average user Moorhead said. That might include a return to a more traditional "start" menu for desktops, for example. Microsoft restored a limited version of the "start" button when it released a Windows 8.1 update last year.

Story continues below advertisement

The company also has hinted that it may restore a key component of Windows: the ability to run apps in windows that can overlap and be adjusted to any size. For newer apps in Windows 8, resizing was limited to how much horizontal space each app takes on the screen.

Windows 8 offered some improvements in security and efficiency, but corporations balked at using the software because they didn't want to spend time and money teaching employees how to use it, Moorhead said.

Now, as Google and Apple are starting to pitch their own operating systems to business users, he added, Microsoft needs to convince business customers that the next version of Windows is worth using.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies