Microsoft to uncover off latest Windows

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spent his initial year on a pursuit creation a association reduction contingent on Windows. This week, when Mr. Nadella is scheduled to uncover off a subsequent chronicle of Microsoft’s many famous product, will reaffirm a handling system’s pivotal purpose in his company’s fate.

At a day-long press event Wednesday, Mr. Nadella and other Microsoft officials are approaching to give a many minute glance so distant of Windows 10, slated to launch after this year.

Microsoft also will explain how Windows will work some-more seamlessly with upgrades to a renouned Office capability program gold and a Xbox videogame system, and it might offer views of a voice-activated digital partner and a new mobile Web browser.

Windows is no longer a violence heart of Microsoft, and Mr. Nadella has won plaudits for stressing other products such as Office and Azure, a use for corporate cloud computing. But a handling complement stays a linchpin of Microsoft’s strategy, and a approach or surreptitious source of an estimated 80% of a company’s profit. That creates a initial Windows launch on Mr. Nadella’s watch a diligent assignment.

The stakes are quite high for Windows 10, that contingency solve several problems for Mr. Nadella. Microsoft contingency redeem from missteps from a before version, settle a gateway for new appendage services, and assistance deliver a struggling smartphone business.

In before previews of Windows 10, a association concurred it went off a rails with some elements of a progressing version, called Windows 8. (Microsoft unaccountably skipped Windows 9.) Microsoft is de-emphasizing a shade charity smartphone-like apps, introduced in Windows 8, that confused some users with a alloy of mobile and PC conventions. Microsoft officials will continue to highlight that Windows 10 is some-more like a Windows that people have come to expect.

“What Microsoft has got to do is continue to yield a stable, familiar-to-use chronicle of Windows,” pronounced David MacDonald, arch executive of Softchoice Corp., that sells record and services to companies. Mr. MacDonald pronounced few of his corporate business commissioned Windows 8 on workplace PCs, preferring to hang with before versions.

Microsoft also hopes Windows 10 will perform a long-standing guarantee to settle a common program substructure for PCs, tablets, smartphones and Xbox. Those products now need 4 sincerely graphic handling systems. Unifying them could concede for seamless activities opposite devices, such as vouchsafing Xbox users change in midgame from a console to a Windows PC.

The incomparable advantage of a cross-device handling system, however, is formulating a bigger bottom of users to interest to program developers–a essential subdivision for Microsoft’s flailing smartphone business. Microsoft’s Windows Phone program is used on only 3 out of 100 new smartphones sole world-wide, and one reason is a miss of renouned or buzzy mobile apps. Microsoft hopes to refinement a allure to developers with a guarantee that apps combined for Windows phones will also run on hundreds of millions of Windows PCs.

Windows’ purpose in generating income creates each new chronicle a high-stakes venture. The PC handling complement accounted for about 19% of Microsoft’s income in a year finished Jun 30, and it generates roughly 30% of a company’s earnings, Nomura Securities batch researcher Rick Sherlund estimates.

Those total indeed understate a handling system’s financial potency, since sales of Office are closely tied to sales of Windows devices. The sum of income associated to Windows and PC versions of Office accounts for roughly 80% of Microsoft’s handling profit, according to estimates from Jefferies Co.

Windows 10 might chaperon in some business-model tinkering. Microsoft executives have hinted a association will examination with new ways to make money, maybe by pitching people on appendage services or apps, such as Microsoft’s Skype video-calling service, OneDrive record storage and digital video downloads.

Some analysts have also speculated that Microsoft could give some people a choice to buy Windows 10 as an annual subscription, rather than a one-time purchase. That could change a Windows income engine into overdrive.

The Week Ahead looks during entrance corporate events.

Write to Shira Ovide during shira.ovide@wsj.com

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