Microsoft wants Windows to play nice with iPhones and Android devices

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May 11, 2017 10:28 PM

Microsoft Corp. is unveiling an update to Windows 10, adding key features that are likely to benefit users of gadgets that run rival mobile operating systems iOS and Android.

The software maker is embracing more fully the notion that customers use multiple devices and that many, particularly the mobile gadgets, don’t run Windows. (Reuters)

Microsoft Corp. is unveiling an update to Windows 10, adding key features that are likely to benefit users of gadgets that run rival mobile operating systems iOS and Android. The features, which be part of an upgrade this fall, will let people sync between various devices, Microsoft officials said in a briefing ahead of a speech to introduce the software. For example, users will be able to share information saved on a clipboard, or pick up tasks on one machine that were left off on another.

The software maker is embracing more fully the notion that customers use multiple devices and that many, particularly the mobile gadgets, don’t run Windows. While Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella pushed the Office and applications business to focus on versions for rival mobile operating systems three years ago, the role of Windows in that new world has been an open question. Now, Windows will engage with its competitors and look for ways to make customers’ experience with those devices better, the Redmond, Washington-based company said.

To use the new features in Windows 10, being shown Thursday at Microsoft’s Build conference for developers in Seattle, users will need a Microsoft account to sign in on those devices and share information.

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Microsoft is also unveiling a mixed-reality controller that will work with virtual-reality goggles being developed by hardware makers using Microsoft’s software. The controller will work without requiring the placement of sensors in a room. Acer Inc. will bundle the controller and the goggles for $399 for the holiday shopping season, with pre-orders starting today.

The company is also introducing OneDrive files on demand, which lets users quickly see items stored in the cloud on local machines without having to download files. That attempts to restore a popular Windows 8.1 feature called Placeholders that was pulled because of problems and that rival Dropbox Inc. has since begun to offer.

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