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Microsoft gets its Windows mojo back

Gregg Keizer | Jan. 22, 2015
Analysts impressed with how Windows 10 is shaping up, predict 'huge' upgrade cycle from free deal.

Even so, Myerson banged the drum. "This changes the rules of the game," he said of the radical-for-Microsoft model.

Microsoft declined to get specific, however, on pricing and packaging for Windows 10 after that first year, saying in a question-and-answer period that it had yet to work out those details. Nor would the company say whether there will be a Windows 10 upgrade for customers who own a Surface or Surface 2 tablet, which are powered by the largely shunned Windows RT operating system.

"Overall, I was impressed," said Dawson, echoing Moorhead. "But they were short on some details today. Many of things they talked about triggered more questions."

Nadella weighs in
CEO Satya Nadella took stage near the keynote's end, and as he has repeatedly, talked about Microsoft's mission as "mobile-first, cloud-first," a mantra that rolls of the tongues of all the firm's top-level executives. But he also trumpeted Windows 10's position in the company.

"We want to move from people needing Windows to choosing Windows to loving Windows," said Nadella. "This is our bold goal with Windows."

But he also tacitly acknowledged the potential problems that Windows 10 presents, and the difficulty in making its promises come true. Nadella called the new upgrade and update practices "pretty profound changes" and "fundamental" in that the firm will "align our goals for success with customers' experiences and their engagement," again hinting that revenue won't be the measuring stick.

Nadella touched on complaints from long-time Windows users, too, when he spoke of how Microsoft will balance its expansion into other operating systems with keeping loyalists, well, loyal.

"We will have services everywhere, but when it comes to Windows, we're not bolting on apps," Nadella said. Windows, he added, will "be the home for the very best Microsoft experience."

"What I really get a sense of is that Microsoft is much more about encouraging a dialog," said Miller of not only the talk of feedback from preview participants, but the keynote as a whole. "The overarching tone now is that what they're building is what customers want."

 

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