Microsoft skips nine, shoots for ten

Microsoft unveiled the latest rev of its operating system today and it will blend elements of Windows 7 and Windows 8 to come up with Windows 10.

According to Microsoft’s Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Operating Systems group, “Because we’re not building an incremental product, the new name will be Windows 10.”

Microsoft stressed at the unveiling that the new operating system will be a blend of both traditional Windows 7 features and its general screen layout that many people have become comfortable with over the years, combined with some of the newer ‘live tile’ interface elements that first appeared in Windows 8 (and were not unilaterally embraced).

The tenor of the event held in San Francisco was that Microsoft has been listening to their customer’s (particularly business customer’s) complaints about the Windows 8 interface and are bringing back some of the older elements found in Windows 7 such as a start button in the lower-left corner of the screen. Only this time that start button will open a split screen with a Windows 7 style menu including the familiar apps and tools on the left, and a more Windows 8-style screen with “live tiles” that allow users to open more modern “metro” style apps to the right. Users can drag and drop those live tiles to customize that portion of the start menu.

Microsoft is also promising that there will be a universal development platform that will support all devices running the new operating system.

“There will be one way to write a universal business app that targets the entire product family,” said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of the Operating Systems group.

Other business-friendly features include compatibility with “all the management systems in use today.”

There will also be a way for IT managers to separate corporate and personal data which should make things a bit easier in the world of BYOD.

The new Windows 10 isn’t scheduled to ship until sometime early next year although there will be ‘technical preview builds’ of the OS available as soon as this week.

Personally I haven’t found Windows 8 all that troublesome (I have it set up so I rarely see the live tiles screen) and I like the way that Windows 8 makes it easy to work with split screens (mostly). But even though there are many ways to customize Windows 8 so that it acts pretty much like Windows 7, I can understand why some people didn’t like the new interface, particularly in a business setting.

Hopefully Microsoft will spend enough time stabilizing Windows 10 by the time it is released to the public so they don’t have to issue a slew of 10.0.1, 10.0.2, etc. patches like Apple has done with their latest operating system release.