SAN FRANCISCO – Microsoft hopes to get more people using the next version of its Windows software on all kinds of devices, by giving them access to many of the same apps they’re already using on Apple or Android phones.
In a major strategy shift, a top executive told an audience of several thousand software developers Wednesday that Microsoft will release new tools to help them quickly adapt the apps they’ve built for Apple or Android gadgets, so they will work on smartphones, PCs and other devices that use the new Windows 10 operating system coming later this year.
On the first day of the company’s annual software conference, other executives showed off more uses for Microsoft’s holographic “augmented reality” headset, the HoloLens – although it’s not yet for sale. They also announced the official name for a new Web browser, called “Edge,” that they promised will be faster and more useful than the Internet Explorer that’s been a Microsoft mainstay for 20 years.
All those initiatives are tied to the impending release of Windows 10, the centerpiece of Microsoft’s ambitions to regain the stature it commanded when Windows-based PCs dominated the computing world. Today, after losing ground to smartphones and tablets that run software from rivals Apple and Google, Microsoft wants to make Windows 10 the universal software for PCs, phones and other Internet-connected gadgets.
“Windows 10 represents a new generation of Windows, built for an era of more personal computing,” CEO Satya Nadella said during a keynote speech, adding that today’s consumers and corporate workers want to have the same experience when they are using a variety of devices.
Although Microsoft has previously shown off some features of Windows 10, it’s hoping to enlist an army of software developers as allies in its campaign to build enthusiasm for the release. The company is using the three-day conference, called Build, to demonstrate more features and app-building tools, with an emphasis on mobile devices as well as PCs.
“Our goal is to make Windows 10 the most attractive development platform ever,” vice president Terry Myerson said.
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