Stock in Focus: Microsoft (NASDAQ MSFT) Having High Hopes on Windows 9

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ MSFT) will show off its Windows 9 Technical Preview at a media event in San Francisco on September 30. It will be a litmus test for the software giant. The company hopes that Windows 9 will be able to win back customers Windows 8 had alienated. Windows 8 tarnished the reputation of the brand ‘Windows.’

Besides massive overhaul of user interface, Windows 9 will have plenty of under-the-hood tweaks. As leaked screenshots of Windows 9 preview show, Microsoft seems to have learned a lot from its mistakes. The company will introduce some game-changing features to help revitalize its OS business. Just before the September 30 event, PCWorld has learned that virtual assistant Cortana will debut with Windows 9. It will appear as an app on Windows 9.

Windows 9 will also get the full-fledged Start menu on the desktop. The right side of Start menu will have Metro-style live tiles, while the left side will look much like Windows 7 Start menu, with some graphics changes. Microsoft’s new OS is targeted at enterprise users for whom productivity is crucial. So, the company is adding virtual desktops feature that’s a favorite of busy professionals. Ubuntu and OS X already offered this feature.

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Charms bar is quite useful on touch-friendly devices such as tablets and two-in-ones. But keyboard-and-mouse users hated it. Paul Thurrott of WinSupersite has learned that the Charms bar will still be there in Windows 9. But it will work only on touch-friendly devices. If you try accessing the Charms bar on the desktop, nothing is going to happen. Everyone is happy.

Windows 9 isn’t going to force you into full-screen Metro UI. The new OS will allow users to run Metro apps in a window on desktops. Microsoft is also unifying the app store. That means app developers can create a single app that will work seamlessly on all three form factors: desktop, tablet and smartphone. It will give desktop users access to a lot more apps.

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Besides the visible changes, Windows 9 will have plenty of under-the-hood tweaks. Reports suggest that it will have one-click upgrading. With the next OS, upgrading to newer versions will be as simple as clicking a button. Moreover, Microsoft is also adding some popular Windows Phone features such as WiFi Sense and Storage Sense to Windows 9. WiFi Sense will let you access free WiFi on the move. Storage Sense feature will help to remove unwanted data from the hard drive.

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