Microsoft teases a ‘next generation of Windows’ announcement ‘very soon’

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Microsoft isn’t talking about its big Windows plans at Build 2021 this week, and that’s because the company is preparing to detail what’s next for its PC operating system separately. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella teased this announcement during his Build keynote this morning, revealing he has been testing “the next generation of Windows” in recent months.

“Soon we will share one of the most significant updates to Windows of the past decade to unlock greater economic opportunity for developers and creators. I’ve been self-hosting it over the past several months, and I’m incredibly excited about the next generation of Windows. Our promise to you is this: we will create more opportunity for every Windows developer today and welcome every creator who is looking for the most innovative, new, open platform to build and distribute and monetize applications. We look forward to sharing more very soon.”

Microsoft has been working on a new app store for Windows in recent months, alongside some significant UI changes to the operating system. Nadella appears to reference the store changes here, with a promise to unlock a better economy for developers and creators within Windows itself.

This will likely include some significant changes to the Windows Store, allowing developers to submit any Windows application — including browsers like Chrome or Firefox. Rumors have suggested Microsoft may even allow third-party commerce platforms in apps, so developers could avoid Microsoft’s own 15 percent cut on apps and 12 percent cut on games.

Nadella’s specific mention of a “next generation of Windows” is interesting, too. Microsoft typically refers to everything as “Windows 10,” and this language could suggest the company is preparing a more significant shift with Windows branding than just the user interface alone.

Windows 10X was supposed to ship this year before it was canceled.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Microsoft confirmed last week that Windows 10X, its OS originally built for dual-screen devices, will no longer ship. The software maker is now bringing the best bits of Windows 10X, a simplified version of Windows, into the main version of Windows 10 instead. We’re expecting to see some significant UI changes to Windows under something codenamed “Sun Valley.”

Some of that work has already started, with new system icons, File Explorer improvements, and the end of Windows 95-era icons. Microsoft is also focusing on improving the basic foundations of Windows, with fixes for a rearranging apps issue on multiple monitors, the addition of the Xbox Auto HDR feature, and improvements to Bluetooth audio support.

Nadella says we’ll hear more about the future of Windows “very soon,” so we’d expect some type of announcement or event in the coming weeks ahead.

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