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Microsoft announces Windows 10, skips 9

Posted at 5:07 PM, Sep 30, 2014

Who needs nine?

Microsoft announced Windows 10 Tuesday at an event in San Francisco. The software replaces Windows 8.

“Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows, unlocking new experiences to give customers new ways to work, play and connect,” Microsoft VP of Operating Systems Terry Myerson said in a news release.

With Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to keep desktop customers while unifying the interface from smartphones to tablets, laptops, PCs and even the XBox gaming system. A user could buy an application on a smartphone – a touch device – and use it also on their PC.

“This will be our most comprehensive operating system,” Myerson said.

Microsoft has struggled to dislodge desktop users from the popular Windows 7, which is now five years old. Windows 8, which emphasized touchscreen controls, has not fared well since its 2012 release.

Windows 8 was criticized for being cumbersome to use with a mouse and keyboard. For example, it lacked the ubiquitous “start” button. Some of those concerns were addressed in the Windows 8.1 upgrade.

Just over 10 percent of PCs ran Windows 8 in August, according to Netmarketshare. More than twice as many run the Windows XP, from 2001.

Many businesses stuck with Windows 7, which keeps the same basic interface as the 20-year-old Windows 95. A slight majority of PCs run Windows 7.

Microsoft has started an “insider” program where people can test an early build of the operating system. The program begins Oct. 1.

Windows 10 will launch later in 2015.

Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk. Follow him on twitter at @GavinStern or email him at