Microsoft’s Build conference is one of their most important shows of the year, with a developer focused discussion that provides some guidance on the direction of Microsoft and its platforms. Over the last couple of years, the platforms have been some of the bigger talking points as well, with Microsoft diversifying across new technologies and markets to try and stay ahead of the curve. Microsoft has predominantly been a platform company over the years, and it’s a rare product they release that doesn’t end up as a platform of some kind. Over the years, the focus on some platforms has had to adjust in order to keep up with the times, and that’s not always an easy goal to accomplish when your original platform, Windows, has been so successful since its inception.

Microsoft had quite a bit of forward leaning news to announce at Build, which we will go over to shed some light on where the company is heading. The company has changed course with their mobile platform never gaining the traction they hoped, and although they have been very successful building out their cloud platforms, for many it’s the consumer facing products that are the most interesting.

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Possibly some of the biggest news about Windows actually got announced on April 20, when Microsoft committed to biannual updates for their operating system. This was a welcome announcement, and while some people would argue that it is still too often, when such a large portion of their install base is business, the almost random update interval that came with Windows 10 was unsustainable. IT needs a chance to schedule testing and deployment, and when you have randomly scheduled semi-major updates to the OS, that can be a burden. Having it set in stone for spring and fall should be a much more manageable process, especially since Windows Update for Business will allow them to defer if necessary.

The first big news was a name for the next update to Windows 10, which Microsoft is calling the Fall Creators Update. Perhaps that means the Creators Update should be prefixed with Spring, but the release date and announcement was not unexpected. After the Creators Update arrived with less major changes, and more smaller updates, perhaps there was an expectation that Windows 10 would move to more smaller updates, but the Fall Creators Update looks to be packed with new features.

With the Fall update, Microsoft is looking to refresh the experience again. They are introducing a new experience called Fluent Design, and it appears to be a solid overhaul of the design language for Windows.

Microsoft is also looking to branch out beyond their platform in new ways, with a big push for Cortana and the Microsoft Graph to enable portable experiences across platforms. It’s a smart play when you consider what happened with mobile, and all powered by the cloud.

The Windows Store got a lot of attention, and arguably it’s the part of Windows 10 that needs the most work, especially with the announcement of Windows 10 S where only Store apps will be able to be installed. The Desktop Bridge for Windows has some interesting new customers, and UWP got a lot more API support.

The big surprise at last year’s Build conference was arguable the introduction of the Windows Subsystem for Linux, and that got some more discussion at this conference as well. That, coupled with the new development tools, makes Windows a powerful development platform for much more than just Windows.

As always, it was a busy conference, with plenty of announcements. It’s always exciting to see where the different tech companies try to move the industry, and in what they prioritize in any given year, so let’s dig into the Build conference.

Fluent Design
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  • mkozakewich - Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - link

    Office is a completely different product and they've coded all the controls from scratch. It's really terrible and barely functions.
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    "How about the ability to NOT install certain updates."
    That is not allowed as that would give the END USER control over their own security and future

    I am posting this comment with WINDOWS XP-SP2 without ANY Microsoft security updates!

    I am not worried about Wannacry or any other malware destroying this box or the software it contains because I understand the security issues and have secured this system from malware and Spyware created by Microsoft as well as the NSA and other criminals

    In addition, Microsoft appears to be using malware in Spyware Platform 10 that was originally created by myself and others not related to Microsoft

    Hiding my proprietary technology in Microsoft DRM is not allowed under my license or contract agreements and makes Microsoft Licenses NULL AND VOID!

    Therefore, I will continue to use END USER supplied security instead of being locked into a backdoored system that cannot be secured by design

    I haven't had a bluescreen of death on XP in over 10 years now and can easily mitigate the security problems created by Microsoft and the Tech Laws that were created to control everything by a few scumbags at our expense

    This is a Control Issue!
    Deal with it
  • versesuvius - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    Microsoft Windows 10 is probably the only piece of software "built" by one of the richest companies in the world that has about 1,000,000,000 testers around the world, testing it in all sorts of scenarios and under all kinds of imaginable conditions. It is a wonder why it is still such a lousy piece of software.
  • Meteor2 - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - link

    Is it though? Really? I have no problem with Windows 10, nor does anyone I know.
  • Macpoedel - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - link

    Can't tell if you're being sarcastic here... English isn't my native language, so I could be missing the point of your post.

    If end user control of security is such a big concern for you, why stick with Windows XP and not just run a Linux distro which seems to be exactly what you want. Sticking to an old OS because you want to stay in control doesn't make sense when there are plenty of modern alternatives where you're still in control, they're just not Windows.

    Or is that what you're referring to in a convoluted way?
  • nonameo - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    LOL. I see this book all over the place in thrift stores. One of the most common books.
  • mominusa - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - link

    Well, one thing you can count on is that they will break something with each update and never bother to correct what the update broke. Another thing you can count on is that you will lose more privacy and control over the OS. For instance, I had the "lose wifi on wake from sleep" bug initially, but had gotten rid of it with the known workaround to disable the wifi power saving option in device manager. Of course, MS could have fixed that with any one of their many updates, but never did. Well, since the anniversary edition update, it is back, and the workaround no longer solves it. Thanks microsoft. Worse yet, it is apparently a known issue that MS is aware of, but they wont bother to fix it this time either. At least I managed to disable the extremely annoying Cortana before the last update made that much more difficult. Words cannot describe how much I hate Win 10. I only leave it on my computer because I game occasionally and also share it with my wife, who would not be comfortable with linux. For my personal laptop that no one else uses, I have changed over to linux for almost everything.
  • RichardHeartonYouTube - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - link

    MS is going to appstore your ass. They are going to walled garden you until they're making the same money on you that apple is. Fuck freedom. Fuck running what software you like. MS will embrace, extend, extinguish your asses. You will bow to microsofts will, for they deserve $50 on every new laptop purchased forever, because, well, they're just that fucking worthy. Seriously, have you seen how much better Word and Excel have gotten over the last 15 years? Bow the fuck down!
  • Meteor2 - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - link

    Do you still live in 1997?
  • mkozakewich - Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - link

    He said 15 years! So 2002.

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