Microsoft has given its first glimpse of its Windows 10 software, hoping to replace its much-criticised current operating system.
The move is unusual as Microsoft’s current operating system is called Windows 8, meaning Microsoft has passed on the expected name of Windows 9.
Microsoft executive Terry Myerson said the Windows 9 name “wouldn’t be right” given Microsoft’s attempts to consolidate all arms of the company under its One Microsoft strategy.
The software giant unveiled an “early technical preview” of next-generation Windows software slated for release next year.
An Insider Program for developers who want to dabble with Windows 10 and provide feedback will kick off on Wednesday.
“Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows, unlocking new experiences to give customers new ways to work, play and connect,” said Microsoft operating systems group executive vice president Terry Myerson.
“This will be our most comprehensive operating system and the best release Microsoft has ever done for our business customers, and we look forward to working together with our broader Windows community to bring Windows 10 to life in the months ahead.”
Pressure has been on Microsoft to win over companies that have shunned the current version of Windows, which was radically overhauled to adapt to the booming popularity of computing devices with touch screen controls.
While Windows 8 was tuned into personal lifestyles rich with smartphones or tablets, it was not a hit at companies where people still work using traditional computers with keyboards and mice.
More than a year after its release in late 2012, the number of businesses using Windows 8 were vastly outnumbered by those using Windows 7 and even using Windows XP, according to market trackers.
Start button and touch interfaces
The removal of the Start button – used to bring up a range of menus and dialogue boxes – was a controversial part of Windows 8.
As a result, some users found it difficult to navigate and businesses held off upgrading as a result.
Under Windows 10, The Start button returns along with the addition of a number of other features including multiple custom desktops, a revamped task view and floating desktop apps.
During its big unveiling of the new Windows 10 operating system, Microsoft demonstrated a feature called Continuum, which is designed to make it easy for users to switch between touch interfaces and non-touch environments.
One of the biggest criticisms of Windows 8 was that it was difficult for users of mice and keyboards to navigate the interfaces designed for touch, and touchscreen users had trouble navigating the traditional desktop that works so well with a mouse and keyboard.
The release is scheduled for mid-2015, but further details have not yet been released.
Watch this video from BBC discussing the Windows 10 system and its challenges here: