Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Corp., speaks during the Windows 10 Devices event in New York City on October 6, 2015. Microsoft Corp. unveiled its first laptop ever, three Lumia phones and the Surface Pro 4 tablet, the first indicator of the company’s reworked hardware strategy three months after it said it would cut plans to produce its own smartphones.
John Taggart Bloomberg | Getty Images
Refreshing the 35-year-old operating system can result additional revenue growth for the second most valuable public company in the world, behind Apple. In time, the new Windows is likely to be widely accepted as millions of consumers and office workers upgrade to Windows 10, a state-of-the-art computer operating system.
Over the past few days, early adopters have been able to give people a sense of what’s to come, thanks to a leaked version of the new-generation Windows that surfaced online last week. According to a person familiar with the matter, the operating system looked like part of an incomplete early version.
The leaked version contains various changes, many of which Microsoft could describe at its virtual event on Thursday. Here’s a brief overview of what to expect:
If the next version of Windows looks kind of like a leaked build, then it will borrow items from the Windows 10X shelf, which was originally designed to run on dual-screen computers, for an operating system called Windows 11. Just like Windows 10X has located the Start button and open programs icons in the center of the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, instead of on the left, as Windows 11 does.
The build features a new Windows icon with four equally large squares, as opposed to the icon used for Windows 8 and Windows 10 with window panes expanding from left to right. Individual application windows retain rounded corners, unlike those in Apple’s MacOS, instead of sharp corners in Windows 10.
The animations that people see when opening and closing windows have been changed, and the Start menu displays applications and files in a way similar to accessing Windows 10X. Sounds for notifications and other events have also been redesigned.
The leaked version got several new ways for users to customize their computers.
By pressing the new buttons, the program windows can jump into the preset configurations on the screen. The Settings application is also included option to allow the operating system to “remember window locations based on the monitor connection.” This could alleviate one problem that people had with Windows that did not revert applications to the previous configuration when people used multiple screens with their computers.
Computers with touch screens exposed a new setting called Wake on Touch – probably the Windows equivalent of a feature on some mobile devices that allows users to quickly turn on the screen by tapping the screen several times.
Some of the people who installed the leaked version of Windows 11 ran tests and found that the operating system provided faster performance than latest version Windows 10 is advertised as “fast and famous” when it was released in 2015.
Nadella said last month that the Windows upgrade would benefit developers. The only place developers can expose their apps to end users in Windows is the Microsoft App Store. The company already said in April that it will reduce the percentage of revenue it retains for itself from shopping at the app store, and Windows 11 could build on that.
Microsoft is taking steps to allow developers to use independent trading systems for applications they would like to include in the Store, and the company wants to make room for classic Win32 applications in the Store without the need for software changes, Windows Central reported in April.
Finally, there could be unexpected announcements. On Tuesday, Microsoft employee Miguel de Icaza said on Twitter that the company would talk about something he had spent years on. De Icaza joined Microsoft in 2016 as part of the Xamarina acquisition, which allows software developers to build mobile applications across multiple platforms – including Appleis iOS and GoogleAndroid – using Microsoft’s C # programming language.
Microsoft could also use the event as an opportunity to discuss structural changes in Windows.
We will listen carefully for any suggestion that Microsoft may use this launch to accelerate the transition of Windows to more subscriber / operating models, through the “Windows-as-a-service” offer or through a stronger M365 boost (which includes Office 365, Windows 10 and EMS) and whether upgrading the OS / desktop can encourage the adoption of corporate teams, ”wrote analysts from UBS, which has a rating on purchases on Microsoft shares, in a note from Monday.
CNBC will follow the event as it takes place on Thursday starting at 11 a.m. CET.