Microsoft to bring back Start menu, make Windows free for sub-9" devices


Windows 7 fans rejoice: Microsoft (MSFT -0.3%) has confirmed at its Build conference the Start menu is returning. The software giant hasn't provided an ETA, but all signs suggest the Start menu will be a part of Windows 9 (reportedly due in April 2015).

Microsoft's revamped Start menu will feature Metro-style live tiles next to the traditional Start bar. The software giant is also previewing a Windows feature that allows Metro apps to appear as distinct windows in desktop mode.

Going forward, Windows will be free for phones/tablets with sub-9" displays. The price change comes after Microsoft reportedly cut Windows license fees by 70% for sub-$250 devices, and represents an escalation of its efforts to put a dent into iOS/Android's 90%+ smartphone and tablet shares.

Also: Nokia is unveiling the Lumia 630, 635, and 930, each of which is optimized for Windows Phone 8.1. The 930, a new flagship model, features a 5" 1080p display and 20MP camera, and goes for a steep $599 unsubsidized. The 630 (4.5", 3G radio) goes for $159-$169 unsubsidized, and the 635 (4.5", 4G radio) for $189.

Earlier: Microsoft unveils Windows/WP updates, universal apps

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Comments (15)
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (13169) | Send Message
     
    I wish they would just allows metro tiles to run on the Windows 7 desktop and be done with it.
    2 Apr 2014, 02:57 PM Reply Like
  • hunter012
    , contributor
    Comments (286) | Send Message
     
    Their sales of phones / tablets must be that bad if they had to give away the OS
    2 Apr 2014, 02:57 PM Reply Like
  • Albright85
    , contributor
    Comments (40) | Send Message
     
    As Bill Gates has said before - "And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to steal ours."

     

    He would rather get no money and have people use his product, than have them use someone else's product. This move is most likely in a small part due to Gates spending more time at Microsoft following Ballmer's departure.
    2 Apr 2014, 03:03 PM Reply Like
  • Transcripts&10-K's
    , contributor
    Comments (1215) | Send Message
     
    Yeah, I can't think of any other company that gives away their OS to the hardware manufacturers...
    2 Apr 2014, 03:04 PM Reply Like
  • Seppo Sahrakorpi
    , contributor
    Comments (2146) | Send Message
     
    Yep, how much did iOS and Android cost... :)
    2 Apr 2014, 03:30 PM Reply Like
  • wil3714
    , contributor
    Comments (2273) | Send Message
     
    LOL n1 Transcripts
    2 Apr 2014, 03:34 PM Reply Like
  • Justin Jaynes
    , contributor
    Comments (3152) | Send Message
     
    @Seppo - take it one step further and drop the 'i' from iOS...
    2 Apr 2014, 04:25 PM Reply Like
  • wil3714
    , contributor
    Comments (2273) | Send Message
     
    I can get an Android tablet for $49 @ Frys
    2 Apr 2014, 04:28 PM Reply Like
  • Justin Jaynes
    , contributor
    Comments (3152) | Send Message
     
    true, but free windows could probably get a more powerful windows tablet in your hands for $250-$300 now if someone really tried.
    2 Apr 2014, 04:41 PM Reply Like
  • Derek A. Barrett
    , contributor
    Comments (3554) | Send Message
     
    Will gladly pay more for a Windows or iOS tablet to not have to deal with the spyware and malware shenanigans
    2 Apr 2014, 08:15 PM Reply Like
  • gtsfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    Windows users stopped "rejoicing" a long time ago. Unless they switched to Linux like the rest of us smart defectors.
    3 Apr 2014, 06:15 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (13169) | Send Message
     
    "Unless they switched to Linux like the rest of us smart defectors."

     

    haha, good one!
    3 Apr 2014, 06:32 PM Reply Like
  • wil3714
    , contributor
    Comments (2273) | Send Message
     
    What Ubuntu? Good luck finding a patch for that
    3 Apr 2014, 07:35 PM Reply Like
  • aphmd
    , contributor
    Comments (108) | Send Message
     
    I strongly believe that there should be an antitrust law against free handouts, like Google's Android and Google Docs, and now MSFTs' free Windows Phone OS. This is blatant unfair competition, which has its' prime example in Internet Explorer, which drove Netscape to bankruptcy. Google gave out Android and "stole" mobile phone market share from Apple and created the behemoth which is Samsung (did this also help cause the demise of Nokia?). Now MSFT (the inventor of this tactic) follows suit. And the cycle continues. Does anyone see how small businesses and corporations who make one or two products are unable to compete? And how a corporation that thrives on one product (Google search engine) unfairly competes with another corporations' core business (MSFTs software)? Where do shareholders stand in these endless freebie wars?
    5 Apr 2014, 07:51 AM Reply Like
  • Albright85
    , contributor
    Comments (40) | Send Message
     
    It's a venture capital landscape. If you want to build a better Microsoft Word, you do it, get some VC money to support yourself, then shop it around to the highest bidder.

     

    Like many things before it, software is slowly becoming a commodity. The likes of WalMart and Amazon have scaled to such sizes where they are very nearly selling goods at cost. Software is going the same way, as tools improve to build software, teams of 2-3 people can build far more powerful systems than thousands could build 10 years ago. Software is becoming damn near free to create, and the value comes from the person using your software.

     

    People value software less and less - to the point of needed to almost be tricked into buying something. People will say "$2 for an app!? Way too expensive!", then turn around and hammer a $10 beer at a bar. When people aren't willing to pay for software, you'd be foolish to try to sell it.
    11 Apr 2014, 12:29 AM Reply Like
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