Surface Studio
Image Courtesy: Tested (YouTube.com)

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that there will be a major reorganization at Microsoft. One of the things that we understood from the reorganization at Microsoft was that the company is moving away from a consumer focussed company to an enterprise focussed company. It meant that Microsoft would reduce their focus on Windows and give more focus to their enterprise products like Office, Azure etc. This news certainly made Windows fans unhappy and many believed that Microsoft will no longer concentrate on Windows 10.

But a recent interview of Satya Nadella by The Verge makes us think otherwise. Satya Nadella provided a detailed explanation as to why the reorganization happened. But as normal consumers, people should know if it wise to buy devices powered by Microsoft. They should know if the reorganization has any negative impact on Windows.

Satya explained the purpose of the latest update to Windows 10 – The Windows 10 April 2018 update. Microsoft recognizes that a person has more than one device. He may have a Windows device for productivity and some entertainment purposes. But he will most definitely have a smartphone with which he will interact with his social media apps to connect with other people. What Microsoft aims to do is to bring about a connection between these devices so that the users can get more out of their computers.

One of the best features in Windows 10 April update that enables this kind of a connectivity between devices is Windows Timeline. Timeline shows a history of all the things that you have done on your PC in chronological order. But if you are using Microsoft Launcher on your Android smartphone or Microsoft Edge on your iPhone, then Timeline on your PC will be able to show a list of all the activities that you have done on your smartphone. Also, you can resume the task/web page, that you have opened on your smartphone, from your PC.

With future updates, Timeline will also be available in the Microsoft Launcher in Android and Edge browser in iOS. So users can resume a task, which they were doing on their PC, from their smartphone. This is a perfect example of how “starting from one device and finishing in another device” takes place. It will be very convenient to the users. But the next challenge that Microsoft has is to convince developers to provide their apps with support for Timeline. This will, of course, take a lot of time.

Another feature that maintains a continuity between devices is My Phone. It was demoed at Build 2018. My Phone acts as a bridge between your smartphone and your PC. It will beam notifications from your smartphone to your PC so that you wouldn’t have to check your smartphone for notifications while doing a task on your PC. Additionally, you will also be able to reply to notifications directly from your PC.

This certainly suggests that Microsoft is not moving their focus from Windows and in fact, they are adding more functionality to Windows by bringing about a continuity between Windows and other operating systems.

Satya also emphasized that Microsoft will continue their work in innovating computer hardware with Surface devices, provide new features like Timeline and My Phone and also recognize, accept and adapt to the fact that users will have multiple devices.

What is the future of Windows?

Microsoft has now evolved into a company with a lot of resources and knowledge in actual hardware, software, cloud and AI. Microsoft was always a software company focusing on Windows but things have changed and the company’s most profitable business is now its Azure and other cloud services.

Windows, in the words of Satya Nadella, “is always about managing a bunch of hardware resources, whether on the server or on the client and creating an application model on top of it.” Microsoft is now in a position which has all of these capabilities.

Microsoft will now consider Linux, Java etc with first-class priority by providing Azure services to these platforms. Similarly, we have been seeing more support and applications for Android and iOS.

So, we have to understand Windows and the future of Windows in a broader sense. Windows is no longer an operating system for PCs, it is a platform for Microsoft to cater to the needs of all users across all their devices. This will eventually make Microsoft a company which will serve all its users across all their devices.

  • WPJ

    Blah blah. “bringing about a continuity between Windows and other operating systems” means “moving away” actually. Several years on and the continuity is so well-established that Microsoft suggests we use Linux: all the services are there, the office pack is there. So why use Windows, really.

    • Gn Re

      Right. You can exactly see what was happening on the Mobile platform. Now you can use Android or Ois and have all benefits of MS office as well as MS cloud. I still think Mr Nadella is on payroll of Google Co.