Microsoft Corp will unveil a new name for its best-known product on Tuesday when it offers the first official glimpse of its latest Windows operating system.
The project, known for the past few years as “Threshold” inside the software company and “Windows 9” outside it, will likely get an entirely new brand, or just be called Windows, analysts said, ahead of its full release early next year.
The name change is symbolic of a new direction and style for Microsoft, which is veering away from an aggressive focus on Windows and PCs, the hallmark of previous CEO Steve Ballmer. The new, quieter emphasis is on selling services across all devices and is championed by new boss Satya Nadella.
The switch also represents a desire to erase the ill will generated by Windows 8, an ambitious attempt to redesign Windows with tablet users in mind, which ended up annoying and confusing the core market of customers who use mouse and keyboards.
Many users howled in protest over the death of the start-button menu and the introduction of a colorful grid of squares or tiles representing apps in what became known as the modern user interface, even though they could easily switch to a traditional desktop mode.
Judging by recent leaks online, which Microsoft has not tried to discredit, the start-button menu will come back in the next Windows, with an option of tacking on tiles if preferred.
The choice of wording and venue are key to a humbler, lower-profile Microsoft under Nadella, who is keen to rebuild respect in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley as it moves away from the PC and to play a bigger part in the mobile computing world fashioned by Apple and Google.