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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

Ina Fried, author of Login
Jun 23, 2021 - Technology

Tabletop computing gets a second chance

Microsoft shows off its Surface tabletop computer in May 2007. Photo: Kevin P. Casey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

When Microsoft debuted its giant Surface tabletop computer back in 2007, executives predicted it might only take three to five years for a version to make its way to consumers. That never happened, but 15 years later, tabletop computing is back — this time in a new, game-focused vision from another company.

Why it matters: Long ago both Bill Gates and "Minority Report" promised a future in which every wall and surface becomes a digital screen where information can be displayed and manipulated by touch. That future is finally beginning to materialize.

2 hours ago - Sports

The new faces of NBC's Olympics coverage

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Cy Cyr/PGA Tour via Getty Images

A new(ish) face will be leading NBCUniversal's prime-time coverage of the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games: veteran sportscaster Mike Tirico.

Why it matters: It's Tirico's first run as prime-time host for the Summer Olympics. Legendary broadcaster Bob Costas hosted 12 Olympic Games between 1988 and 2016 for NBC before handing over the prime-time spot to Tirico in 2018.

Ina Fried, author of Login
2 hours ago - Sports

Behind the scenes at the COVID Olympics

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios, Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images

TOKYO — The COVID rule-breaking was obvious at Friday's opening ceremony, when athletes were clearly visible on TV with masks below their noses, but an athlete tells Axios that the rule-breaking has been going on well before that.

  • It's been happening at least since athletes arrived in the Olympic Village, where masks were dropped below noses and different teams were forced to share buses.