A few days after introducing the main features planned for the final version, which is due for release in the second half of 2015, Microsoft has shared a new Windows 10 preview (Build 9926). Now available for download, this latest version includes the new Start menu as well as the smart voice-controlled assistant Cortana.

Though not the definitive version, the latest Windows 10 build is the first to include a number of eagerly awaited features including the Start menu (along with the ability to display it across the entire screen), the virtual personal assistant Cortana, a revamped Windows Store, the new Maps, Photos and Xbox apps and Continuum mode, which makes it easy to switch between notebook and tablet modes on 2-in-1 devices.The new Spartan web browser, still in development, is expected to arrive in an upcoming build, as is the updated Office suite. Available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, this latest Windows 10 preview can be downloaded using Windows Update by users who have installed a previous preview, or saved to a DVD for first-time installation.

Microsoft said that several intermediate versions will be released for download between now and the official Windows 10 launch, which is set to occur sometime before this fall. For the first time, the new version of Windows will be available for free, during the year following its launch, to users already equipped with Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.1. Windows 10 is designed to work not only on the PC but on a range of other devices including Xbox consoles, connected appliances.

I seen the RC and it running on Surface 3 it looks and works great.  Hopefully this will stop the stock slide for Microsoft and get the wheels back on the cart.

Microsoft: Windows Still Stumbling – shares fell more than 4% in after-hours trading on the Monday following a second quarter earnings report that was largely in line with analyst expectations. The company earned $0.71 per share on revenue of $26.5 billion. Over the past year, Microsoft has been a great investment, but shareholders should be prepared for more volatility as it continues to transition its business model. It is a mobile- first, cloud-first world at Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella consistently argues. He says that he’s positioning the company for a “mobile-first, cloud-first world.” With cloud-related revenue continuing to ramp up at a rapid rate, it appears to be working but its legacy Windows business remains a drag.

With its next operating system, (Windows 10) Microsoft is slated to provide a free upgrade for early adopters, Windows revenue could continue to disappoint in the quarters ahead. The biggest drag on Microsoft’s quarterly results was the performance of its Windows business suite. Both Windows OEM Pro and non-Pro revenue — the Windows licenses sold to its hardware partners — declined 13% on an annual basis. In recent quarters, Microsoft’s Windows business had benefited from the end of Windows XP support.

As noted above, many business users are still running old machines with Windows XP – some had also bought large numbers of new PCs, temporarily (and perhaps artificially) inflating the demand for Windows. On the consumer side, Microsoft said it enjoyed some license growth, but revenue may have suffered from the growing number of devices running low-cost or even free versions of Windows: Microsoft heavily discounts Windows licenses for tablets with screens smaller than 10.1 inches. To qualify for some of the Windows discounts, OEMs are required to set the PC’s default search engine to Bing, which appears to be flourishing. Admittedly, it remains in a distant second place, but Bing’s share of the U.S. search market rose to 19.7%.

Posted by dbrody