The launch of Microsoft’s new operating system Windows 10 tomorrow will be a decisive moment for the once dominating software maker that has seen its influence slump in the last decade.
Receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews when first unveiled earlier this year; Windows 10 represents a step change in the evolution of Microsoft’s trademark operating system.
Designed to work across platforms and devices, it comes equipped with an entirely new Internet browser – the Edge, replacing the faded Internet Explorer. Among its features are the Cortana intelligent digital assistant, originally created for Windows Phone 8.1, as well as the Continuum feature that automatically adjusts the graphic interface based on the hardware to which it is plugged.
Microsoft hopes Windows 10 will give its brand back some of the lustre it has lost over the past years when gradually falling behind arch-rival Apple as well as Google’s open source Android platform, especially in the mobile gadget domain.
Windows 10 promises to make it easy for developers to design apps that would works across platforms, on computers, tablets and smartphones, with minimal adjustment.
This promised simplicity, Microsoft hopes, will attract developers to write more apps for Windows, which have been lagging in this domain behind its rivals. While there are currently more than a million apps on the Apple App Store, the Windows Store only offers about 500,000.
Despite the decline of the PC market, Microsoft managed to score a couple of successes in the past years.
Although computers running its Windows 10 operating system have been affected by the growing popularity of Apple’s OS X and Mac computer line-up, the Surface tablet, first launched in 2012, has on the other hand given Apple’s iPad a run for its money.
Whether Windows 10 will follow in the footsteps of Surface will depend on how closely the actual performance of the operating system matches the impression created by the demonstration.
Edge must be fast and easy to annotate as suggested, while Cortana must continue to be a seamless and intelligent assistant across a new range of devices. The simplicity of having apps works across platforms needs to be as straightforward as promised. If all falls into place, some analysts believe, Microsoft could emulate the growth of Apple and regain some of its lost edge. If it does not, the once dominant firm credited with providing a computer for everyone, will continue to decline.