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Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta 387

Posted by Soulskill
from the giving-in dept.
At Microsoft's BUILD conference today, the company announced that the Start Menu will officially be returning to Windows 8.1. It will combine the Windows 7 Start Menu with a handful of Metro-style tiles. They're also making it so Windows 8 apps can run in windows using the normal desktop environment. In addition to the desktop announcements, Microsoft also talked about big changes for Windows on mobile devices and Internet-of-Things devices. The company will be giving Windows away for free to OEMs making phones and tablets (9" screens and smaller), and for IoT devices that can run it. Microsoft also finally unveiled Cortana, their digital assistant software that's similar to Siri.
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Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta

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  • What about 2012R2??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by fullmetal55 (698310) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:14PM (#46642543)

    PLEASE PLEASE TAKE THE DAMN TILE INTERFACE AWAY FROM YOUR SERVER OS!!!!

    It's useless! it's painful! I curse myself whenever I hit the start button!

  • Re:"Free" Windows (Score:5, Informative)

    by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:17PM (#46642567) Homepage

    Windows on a phone works pretty well -- I picked up a Nokia 520 because it was $40 and why not, and it's actually quite decent.

    The tiles based interface works quite well for a small device like that. I certainly don't like it on a PC with a big screen (or two), but for a little screen it works quite well.

    In fact, the only real problem I had with the OS is that there aren't many apps available compared to iOS and Android.

  • by Pentium100 (1240090) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:35PM (#46642787)

    What about Terminal Services? It may be a server, but it may be used by lots of regular users like a mainframe was used in the past instead of running IIS, Exchange or something like that.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:42PM (#46642879) Journal

    We're running one DC and our Exchange server on Server 2012, and I haven't had any problems with the AD and Exchange management tools yet. Maybe there are some features that are unsupported, by the big ones I use; DNS, DHCP, AD Computers and Users, GP Management, Event Viewer and Exchange console seem to work alright.

  • by redmid17 (1217076) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:50PM (#46642957)
    I'm assuming you're too lazy to google

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/... [pcmag.com]
    http://usabilitygeek.com/windo... [usabilitygeek.com]
    http://www.techspot.com/review... [techspot.com]
    http://www.zdnet.com/windows-8... [zdnet.com]

    If you're lazy, you can just read the conclusions. It's not necessarily enough to make me upgrade to 8 (already have 8 on one laptop and 7 on some other devices), but it measurably better in a few areas.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @05:19PM (#46643283)

    It's a totally separate OS, look it up. If you purchased software assurance for a hefty fee, you can upgrade for free. You will have to totally reinstall windows though. For those of us who buy OEM for small business customers, they would have to buy a whole new copy of 2012R2. OK, so maybe it's more like "only" $800 since I think you can still use your 2012 client access licenses. Factor in 3 or 4 hours of labor to complete the upgrade, and well, you get the idea.

    It's definitely not anything like the 8.0 to 8.1 upgrade, if that's what you're thinking.

  • Bad Management (Score:4, Informative)

    by enter to exit (1049190) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @05:35PM (#46643457)
    Metro should show some intelligence in how it open apps.

    Ideally, if the user opens a metro app from the Desktop, it should be windowed. If it's opened from the Metro Screen it should be full screen.

    Metro is a fine interface for touch devices. It looks good and works well. However it fails miserably when you're trying to use it in conjunction with the desktop. MS should go whole hog and create a Metro only tablet.

    A lot of the blame for Win8 can be shouldered on Steven Sinofsky, who by all accounts thought himself as a cross between Steve Jobs and Napoleon. He was given free reign over Win8 due to his perceived success with MS Office (and the ribbon interface).

    If you follow the MS news, you'll find constant suggestions that he treated the windows division as his fiefdom (and windows phone as a competitor, refusing even the most basic coordination) and that not only did he refuse to include a start menu in Win8 as a transitional step (up to that point, MS has usually offered a way to go back to the old behavior for at least one windows version) he intentionally introduced architectural changes to make it harder for MS to implement one in the future. You'll notice he was fired shortly after without much remorse by anyone.
  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:28PM (#46644979) Homepage

    I think the braindead reason is simply that when you're selling an OS version, it has to offer something different than the version that it's supposed to replace. Otherwise people won't see the point in throwing away their old computers just to get something even more bloated than the OS they have now.

    Except people do not buy new computers for the OS; the operating system is just something that comes with the computer. People would still be buying new computers at more or less the same rate if they came with Windows XP.

    Yes, new operating systems need to be updated so they can take advantage of hardware improvements (SSD drives, USB3, etc), and to fix known security issues. They should also feature improvements and extra features to put the OS more in line with how people actually use their computes (for instance, adding cloud storage or better syncing with mobile devices). But it has been repeatedly shown - with Metro, Unity, Vista and probably a dozen other examples - that changing the interface solely to market your product is going to backfire big-time unless there are some very obvious advantages (MacOS versus DOS, for instance). And Metro lacked those advantages.

    Worse, Microsoft was repeatedly warned of this mistake and chose to ignore it. It focused on form over function and barring an excellent marketing team - which Microsoft has never had - it was inevitable that they would fail in their transition.

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