Windows 11? A Peek At the PC's Future

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A new version of Microsoft’s foundational operating system gets a showing today, reflecting both a resurgence in the PC’s popularity and a recalibration of where Windows plays in the company’s strategy.

A decade ago, before the era of CEO Satya Nadella, Windows was like a religion for Microsoft; the goal was to get “Windows Everywhere” and define the face of the world’s connected experiences. Under Nadella, Microsoft’s emphasis has shifted to making its software the backbone of connected experiences instead of the face. Rather than fight Apple in phones, Google in search and Facebook in online services, Microsoft has focused its energy against Amazon in cloud and Salesforce in enterprise productivity.

Meanwhile Windows, once a computing crusader, finds itself in a strangely neutral position in today’s hottest platform wars. It can afford to challenge Apple and Google’s approaches to pricing in app stores because Windows has never had a dominant app store. It can highlight its Teams collaboration tool because unlike Apple with iMessage/FaceTime, Facebook with Messenger and Google with Meet and Chat, it hasn’t recently pushed video and text communication as an essential piece of the platform experience.

So look for today’s next-get Windows unveil to be less a challenge to other operating systems, and more a nuanced support of Nadella’s broader backbone software strategy.

Coming up today on CNBC’s TechCheck, 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT …

Confluent CEO Jay Kreps, Microsoft Corporate VP Yusuf Medhi

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