Microsoft to give Windows away for phones, small tablets

The move is an attempt to increase the OS' presence in those devices, where Android and iOS rule

Hardware vendors making smartphones and tablets with screens smaller than 9 inches will get Windows for free, the latest aggressive move by Microsoft to help its flagship OS improve its position in these devices.

"We really want to get this platform out there. We want to remove all the friction between you and creating these devices," Terry Myerson, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Operating Systems group, said during the company's Build conference in San Francisco.

The move is a dramatic example of the sense of urgency Microsoft feels regarding Windows' weak position against iOS and Android in the smartphone and tablet markets, which Apple and Google have capitalized upon in recent years.

It's also an acknowledgement by Microsoft that the once rock-solid franchise of Windows is giving way to a new reality and that the old "Windows first" corporate mantra is now misguided and obsolete.

For example, Microsoft, which traditionally protected Windows at the expense of Office, has now released a version of Office for iPads before finishing work on its "touch first" Office version for Windows 8 and 8.1 tablets, something that would have been unthinkable for the company to do a few years ago.

However, CEO Satya Nadella, taking the stage later, pointed out that Windows continues to be a key product for the company, and that users, developers and IT pros can expect to see continued innovation for the platform.

"Why build for Windows?," Nadella said, echoing a question posed to him by a developer via video. "That's the question of the conference. That's the question of this morning. You should build for Windows because we're going to innovate with a challenger mindset."

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags application developmentapplicationsMicrosoftsoftwareoperating systems

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?