After six years, Microsoft has introduced a new generation of the dominant PC operating system with Windows 11.
One of the innovations is that apps for Android smartphones can also run on the computers. Microsoft is increasingly daring to bundle its own programs with the operating system: The Teams software for video conferencing and collaboration in the office is integrated directly into Windows. The in-house games subscription, Games Pass, is also installed via a new Xbox app. In the corona pandemic, the use of video conferences and computer games has increased explosively.
The apps for the Google Android system come via a detour to the Windows PCs. They come from Amazon’s Android store and are made to work with the help of technology from the chip company Intel . Microsoft is following a trend: Apple is already making it possible for developers to bring iPhone apps to their Mac computers.
Windows 11 also redesigned various control elements – including the start button and the associated menus, which can now be found by default in the middle of the taskbar instead of on the edge.
The vast majority of laptops and desktop computers in the world run Windows, even though Apple was the last to get ahead with its Mac computers. Windows 10, which was introduced in mid-2015, has largely replaced older versions and, according to market researchers, runs on around 80 percent of Windows computers.
— Windows (@Windows) June 24, 2021
Forrester Research’s industry analyst JP Gownder pointed out that the new Windows is coming in an era of hybrid office and home office work. The new operation gives the software a chance to stand out. At the same time, he welcomed the fact that the basic software code still comes from Windows 10 – this reduces the risk that previous programs and device drivers no longer work as they did with Windows Vista.
Unlike Apple, Microsoft is sticking to the fact that Windows devices can be operated with both keyboard and touchscreens. The iPhone group consistently refrains from allowing control via screen with its Mac computers.
App developers can integrate their own payment methods on the Windows platform, emphasised the group. Microsoft will not charge a fee for it. Microsoft boss Satya Nadella set big goals for the new Windows in a closing word. “The world needs a more open platform today. One that allows apps to become platforms themselves,” he said. Microsoft claims that Windows 11 will become the platform for the next web or a groundbreaking new software category. Overall, with the innovations, Microsoft is once again making it clear that the group wants to earn its money as a provider of cloud services.
Nadella’s calls for more openness and choice are of particular importance in the current debate about Apple and Google’s business model around apps – with allegations of unfair competition against both companies. As developers of the two remaining smartphone platforms, Apple and Google levy a levy of 15 to 30 percent on digital app revenues. The game provider Epic Games (“Fortnite”), which wants to operate its own app store on the iPhone, took it to court. A verdict is still pending after the recently completed trial in California. Epic had received support from Microsoft in the process.
After the introduction of Windows 11, Epic boss Tim Sweeney tweeted: “The Microsoft of 2021 is the best Microsoft ever.” The exemption of the developers from taxes does not apply to games, as Microsoft later confirmed to the technology blog “The Verge”.
At the same time, with the integration of teams, Microsoft itself is opening a flank for criticism from competing providers. After all, the rival Slack complained to the EU Commission a year ago about the bundling of teams with office programs. With the embedding in the operating system Microsoft is now going one step further. Microsoft manager Yusuf Mehdi assured in an interview with the financial service Bloomberg that competing services like Slack or Zoom would also benefit from all the new functions of Windows 11.
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In the 1990s, Microsoft was targeted by competitive proceedings for the bundling of the Internet Explorer web browser with Windows. The pre-installed Microsoft browser caused the use of the pioneering software from Netscape to break in. Microsoft was nearly crushed over the allegations and has since acted very cautiously on competition issues.
A specific release date for Windows 11 was not mentioned – it is expected from autumn, together with new devices from PC manufacturers on which the operating system is already preinstalled.