After two years of promoting an unimaginably terrible software platform, Microsoft (MSFT) has officially announced its newest operating system (OS), Windows 10. This release comes courtesy of endless user complaints and an almost disastrous Windows 8 rollout. Almost immediately after completing Windows 8, in 2012, Microsoft designers and engineers had no choice but to return to the drawing board; Windows 8 was an instant failure, and Microsoft's reputation was at stake (see how the company attempted to buy its way out of failure here). Thus, the tech giant pursued the development of an OS that customers would immediately praise. It has since taken Microsoft two years to build Windows 10, claiming it's a massive leap forward. Executives are so convinced of this that they even decided to skip "Windows 9" when choosing the name.
Microsoft's Windows 8 platform illustrated the company's attempt to modernize its fabled Windows 7 and Vista operating systems. Windows 8 was also Microsoft's first serious mobile venture. In theory, the OS was supposed to cater to new tablets/smartphones (the Surface tablet line), while also providing users an updated desktop experience. Needless to say, Windows 8 was not well-received and left users with much to be desired. It is clear that in developing Windows 10, Microsoft acknowledged customer complaints, as the OS is supposedly much improved.
The first obvious difference users will observe, and appreciate, is that Windows 10 has reintegrated the full desktop display; no longer will users suffer from the drawbacks of a tiled interface. Microsoft has instead opted to incorporate its tile pattern into the desktop. This is a complete reversal from how Windows 8 was structured, but is clearly the correct choice. Although the old Windows desktop view was simple, it was also iconic and friendly. The live tile scheme was an interesting Windows 8 addition; however, it became increasingly clear that users could not fully navigate their computer interface.
Windows 10 also contains a centralized app store. Now all Windows devices can use the cloud to download the same apps, so long as they're from the same account. This long-awaited feature will undoubtedly help people multitask and make for a more fluid user experience. Unfortunately, Microsoft has only released its windows 10 desktop OS. However, the company did announce that different Windows mobile devices would experience slight systematic changes. It's not that Windows 8 mobile features were more obstructive than on PCs, instead engineers realized they could enhance the user experience on tablets and touchscreen laptops.
Even so, some critics believe Windows 10 is actually a step backward for Microsoft. Despite the general distaste for Windows 8, it was clear that Microsoft attempted to revamp the user interface experience. To the distain of progressive tech junkies, Windows 10 looks much like Windows 7. Although consumers demand a more comfortable OS, it is hard to remain technologically relevant when innovation ceases. That said, Microsoft's monthly updated releases will undoubtedly influence the success of Windows 10.
Many may argue that Windows 10 is not innovative; however, Microsoft should be praised for its approach. The company has heeded customer advice and conceded that Windows 8 was highly problematic; such admissions are rare in corporate America. Windows 8 was a mess, and that's being polite, whereas Windows 10 is an optimal balance between Windows 7 and 8, which reintroduces a familiar, and modernized, user-friendly design. However, the question remains: will Apple's (AAPL) Yosemite OS X blow Windows 10 out of the water? If so, expect a further decline in Microsoft's share price.