Microsoft on Thursday announced Windows 11, the next generation of Windows. The newest version of Windows comes six years after the tech giant had introduced Windows 10 to the world. Windows 11 focuses on a new user interface, a new Windows Store, and improvements to performance.
Windows 11 features an overhauled design language, something consumers wanting from the next generation of Windows. “Today marks a major milestone in the history of Windows,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said. “It’s the beginning of a new generation.”
Microsoft revealed Windows 11 during an online event on Thursday. The announcement comes almost six years after the introduction of Windows 10, which is the world’s most widely used PC operating system, with over 1.3 billion devices using it.
Windows, which represents over 10% of Microsoft’s revenue even as the company has grown by selling cloud services, became more critical during the pandemic as people stayed home and spent more time with Windows 10 for school, work and gaming. Microsoft reported higher Windows revenue from consumer PCs — but Apple’s Mac revenue also rose, and shipments of PCs running Google’s Chrome OS skyrocketed.
Features of New Microsoft Windows 11:
Microsoft says it is also redesigning the Windows Store. Not just the brand new look, the company also said Windows 11 will support Android apps via Amazon’s app store. This means millions of popular apps which weren’t available on Windows will be available to download on the most popular desktop operating system.
Which things Microsoft announced during event:
- Announced Windows 11, which will be a free update and is due out by the holidays.
- Showed new Xbox features coming to Windows 11.
- Unveiled support for Android apps through the Amazon Appstore in Windows 11.
- Revealed big changes to its Microsoft Teams app in Windows 11.
- Took a shot at Apple and said its new Microsoft Store has lower fees.
Microsoft, in shot at Apple, says store takes lower fees and allows payment processing
Microsoft executive Panos Panay drew a contrast on Thursday with other app stores during the Windows 11 launch. On the Windows Store, he said, developers can use Microsoft’s payment processor (“commerce engine”), which takes a 12% fee from purchases. Or, he said, developers can use their own payment processor and keep 100% of purchases.
This is clearly a shot at Apple and to a lesser extent Google, which run the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for mobile software, which take a 15% to 30% fee from purchase. Game stores on Windows, like Steam, also take similar fees.
Microsoft also announced a way to install Android apps on Windows PCs through Amazon’s Appstore platform.“Today this world needs a more open platform,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said.
Windows 11 will support Android apps from Amazon’s App Store
Microsoft said Windows 11 will support Android apps through Amazon’s app store. That means popular apps that people already use on phones will be available right on the desktop, in the Start menu and more.
But, notably, the Amazon App Store doesn’t offer Google’s popular Android apps like Gmail, Maps and other Google services. And according to Joanna Stern at the Wall Street Journal, you’ll need to first sign in to your Amazon account to download those apps.
Still, it could be huge for Microsoft’s ARM-based Windows efforts, since those apps are already designed to work on mobile processors.
Notably, this is similar to how Apple’s Macs that run on its new M1 chip support iPhone and iPad apps. It shows how mobile apps, which people use all day long on their phones, are jumping to our desktop computers across both major platforms, Windows 11 and macOS.