Microsoft Woos Developers with ‘Re-Blended’ Windows



CEO Ballmer unveils an overhauled Windows 8 operating system, promises a ‘proliferation’ of small Windows tablets to be released in the coming months.

SAN FRANCISCO – Microsoft (IW 500/15) on Wednesday courted application makers with a “re-blended” version of the overhauled Windows 8 operating system released late last year.

Windows 8.1 incorporated feedback from users and developers, and came with the promise that the US software giant was speeding up its release cycle to adapt to the dizzying pace of innovation in consumer technology.

“We pushed boldly in Windows 8 and got lots of feedback,” Microsoft chief executive Steven Ballmer said while kicking off the company’s BUILD developers conference in San Francisco.

“Users said ‘Why don’t you go refine the blend?,'” he said. “We will show you a refined blend of our desktop experience and our modern experience.”

Cheers burst from the audience when Ballmer assured them that changes in Windows 8.1 included a return of the “Start” button icon on screens that provided shortcuts to commands and applications.

Microsoft made a preview version of Windows 8.1 available for developers online at and said this was just the beginning of a shift to “rapid release” cycles for software.

“Rapid release cadences are absolutely essential to what we are doing,” Ballmer said.

“It is about the transformation that we are going through as a company to move at an absolutely rapid release cycle; our transformation from a software company to a company building software-powered devices and services.”

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