Cortana: Recent leaks strongly suggest that Cortana, the name for Microsoft's digital assistant powering Windows Phone, will eventually surface in Windows 10. Neowin describes it as being an app, with the familiar circle icon.
It's very likely Cortana will eventually replace the search app within Windows 10 in some capacity, in the same way the Live Tiles in the Windows 10 Start menu provide context and additional functionality in addition to the left-hand list of applications. Cortana will also undoubtedly be used as the "intelligence" behind notifications, including alerts of upcoming appointments and prioritized email.
Internet Explorer 12: Microsoft continues to push its browser forward. The latest reports claim it contains a better extensions model to allow improved third-party plugins. Whether Microsoft will actually continue to call the browser "Internet Explorer" seems a bit more far-fetched: Reportedly it's named "Spartan" internally, but it seems a bit silly to dump years of brand awareness in favor of a new name. As Microsoft ties Windows Phone and Windows closer together, expect more shared elements between the mobile and desktop experience.
Improved app store: Microsoft executives also publicly pointed to a unified app store model that will complement the integration of Windows and Windows Phone, confirming reports from last year.
How that will play out is still anyone's guess, although Microsoft has miles and miles to go before it can catch up with the variety of apps found within Valve's Steam distribution service, for example. I think we'd all like a Microsoft apps store that looks more like the Electronics Boutique or Egghead Software of old, rather than a home for crap apps and casual games. Google, meanwhile, has positioned Google Play as a one-stop shop for apps, games, music, movies, magazines, and books. There's no reason Microsoft shouldn't be able to do something similar.
For now, though, businesses and enterprises are the first priority. On Wednesday, Net Applications reported declines in market share for both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1: from 7.09 percent of the market in August to 6.67 percent in September for Windows 8.1, and from 6.28 percent in August to 5.59 percent in September for Windows 8.
Microsoft needs tens of thousands of businesses PCs to stick with Windows and move straight onto Windows 10, with the hope that those workers will eventually follow suit on their home PCs, too.
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