The new operating system, expected to be released next year, comes three years after the launch of Windows 8. It was announced at an event aimed at business users in Seattle.
“Windows 10 will be our most comprehensive platform ever,” Terry Myerson, head of the operating systems group, told the audience. “It wouldn’t be right to call it Windows 9.”
The launch is one of several pre-briefings expected over the coming months to sell the new system to different groups, many of whom were critical of the old system.
Windows 8 introduced major changes in Microsoft’s operating system, aimed at improving the performance on tablets and other touch-operated devices. The changes came as the software giant continued to struggle in mobile against Google’s Android and Apple.
The overhaul failed to impress many users and businesses who felt the new software did not deliver for desktop PC users, and who disliked its unfamiliar tile-based interface. Many declined to upgrade from its predecessor, Windows 7.
Before the launch, some had speculated the company might signal a new era at Microsoft by dropping the Windows name altogether. Internally the project had been called Threshold.
In an era dominated by mobile devices and cloud computing, Microsoft has been struggling to adjust. New boss Satya Nadella has been moving away from the aggressive focus on Windows and PCs that was the hallmark of his predecessor, Steve Ballmer.
But the choice of Windows 10 acknowledges how the operating system remains at the core of Microsoft’s image and its bottom line. Myerson pointed out that there were about 1.5bn PCs in use on the planet, about the same as the total estimated number of Android devices. But Android’s growth rate far outstrips Windows.
“It’s critical,” said Colin Gillis, analyst at BGC Partners in New York. Even with the declining PC business Gillis said about 30% of the company’s revenues came from Windows. But he added that Google’s Android was now the pre-eminent operating system on the planet.
“This is the original platform,” said Gillis. “But every other Windows launch hasn’t worked for them. We had Vista, which was a dud, then we had Windows 7, which was great, then we had Windows 8.”
Asked if he thought the hit and miss sequence meant the company had made a mistake missing 9, Gillis said: “Hey, let’s hope it’s just some marketing stuff.”
This article was written by Dominic Rushe in New York, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 30th September 2014 20.04 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010