Updated Jun 24, 2021 - Technology

Windows goes to 11

A screenshot of Windows 11 in dark mode
Screenshot: Axios

Microsoft on Thursday offered a first look at Windows 11, coming this holiday season. The new version changes both the look of the operating system as well as its underlying business model, as well as supporting Android apps for the first time.

Why it matters: Windows has been steadily losing market share on the desktop, which has itself lost prominence to smartphones.

With Windows 11, Microsoft is:

  • integrating its Teams software for video chat and other types of communication
  • Offering the ability to run Android apps for the first time, integrating Amazon's app store.
  • adding a news feed and widgets to the desktop, which it hopes will allow smaller creators to make money through Windows.
  • revamping the look of the operating system, adding rounded windows, moving the Start bar to the center of the screen and making it easier to group frequently used apps together.

Microsoft also plans changes to the economics for the Microsoft Store, a move that could help it competitively and also increase the pressure on rivals Google and Apple.

  • Notably, Microsoft will also allow developers to use either its payment system or their own, in which case they keep 100 percent of revenue.

What they're saying: "The world needs a more open platform," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "This is the first version of a new era of Windows."

What's next: Microsoft plans to release a test version of the operating system next week, but it won't have all the features Microsoft plans for the final release later this year.

Go deeper: Why Windows needs a reboot

Go deeper