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Microsoft to offer Windows for free on phones, tablets

By Bill Rigby SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp said on Wednesday it will give away its Windows operating system to makers of smartphones and small tablets as it seeks to grab a toehold in those fast-growing markets. Microsoft's move, announced at its annual developers conference in San Francisco, is an attempt to broaden the small user base of mobile versions of Windows, in the hope that more customers will end up using Microsoft's cloud-based services such as Skype and Office.

Microsoft releases Windows 8.1, in restart

Microsoft released Windows 8.1 on Thursday, after tweaking the operating system designed for various devices that had confused some users. The update is free for those using Windows 8, released last year to help Microsoft navigate the transition from traditional personal computers to mobile devices such as tablets. The revamped version brings back the "start" button, which disappeared last year and prompted protests from some PC users unaccustomed to the tiled menu adapted for touchscreens.

New Windows operating system sent to computer makers

Microsoft on Tuesday began sending a revamped version of Windows to makers of computers, smartphones or tablets powered by the software. "We've hit an important milestone for Microsoft," Windows team executive Antoine Leblond said in a blog post. "In many ways, this marks a new day for Microsoft, reflecting a number of rapid-release firsts." Developers of applications tailored to run on Windows devices were irked, however, to find out that they will not get their hands on the finished version of Windows 8.1 until it hits the market in October.

Microsoft fine-tunes flagship Windows operating system blamed for PC slump

SAN FRANCISCO - Microsoft is trying to avert slumping PC sales and growing criticism of its flagship operating system with the release of a revised version of Windows 8. On Wednesday, Microsoft made a preview version of Windows 8.1 available for download. It includes alterations meant to address consumer dissatisfaction with the operating system. Analysts believe users' frustration with Windows 8 is partly to blame for the biggest drop in personal computer sales in nearly two decades.

Microsoft fine-tunes flagship Windows operating system blamed for PC slump

SAN FRANCISCO - Microsoft is trying to reverse slumping PC sales and quiet growing criticism of its flagship operating system with the release of a revised version of Windows 8. On Wednesday, Microsoft made a preview version of Windows 8.1 available for download. It includes alterations meant to address consumer dissatisfaction with the operating system. Analysts believe users' frustration with Windows 8 is partly to blame for the biggest drop in personal computer sales in nearly two decades.

Developments with Microsoft's new Windows 8 system

The launch of Windows 8 was heralded as the biggest change to the industry's dominant operating system in at least 17 years. It attempts to bridge the gap between personal computers and fast-growing tablets with its touch-enabled interface. But consumer reaction has been lacklustre. Microsoft now plans an update this year. Here's a look at events surrounding Microsoft Corp.'s new system:

Microsoft woos developers with 're-blended' Windows

Microsoft 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.

Cherished 'Start' button returning to Windows software

Microsoft unveiled an update to its latest Windows operating system Thursday that included a return of a "Start" button that had been missed by longtime users of the computer software. The tweaked version of the operating system, nicknamed Windows Blue, will be previewed on June 26 and will be a free update for users of Windows 8.1, according to the Redmond, Washington-based technology titan. "It's Windows 8 even better," Windows program management corporate vice president Antoine Leblond said in a blog post.

Microsoft tries to make Windows 8 easier to navigate, customize

SAN FRANCISCO - Microsoft is trying to fix what it got wrong with its radical makeover of Windows. It's making the operating system easier to navigate and enabling users to set up the software so it starts in a more familiar format designed for personal computers. The revisions to Windows 8 will be released later this year. The free update, called Windows 8.1, represents Microsoft's concessions to long-time customers taken aback by the dramatic changes to an operating system that had become a staple in households and offices around the world during the past 20 years.

Microsoft brings back 'start' button, seeks to spur Windows sales

By Bill Rigby SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp is bringing back the Windows "start" button, offering a stripped-down version among a slew of improvements aimed at winning over tablet users and placating PC customers alienated by Windows 8. The world's largest software company is looking to re-energize sales of its latest Windows version, which has not made the splash with computer users it was hoping for. Executives say the plan is now to update Windows periodically, rather than waiting three years or so between big releases.
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