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Microsoft's CEO makes the case for Windows 10 and HoloLens development

Microsoft's CEO makes the case for Windows 10 and HoloLens development

July 14, 2015 | By Christian Nutt

In a new, extensive interview with ZDNet, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella lays out the company's plans for its Windows ecosystem -- including Windows Phone -- and sets expectations for the first release of HoloLens.

It gives devs a good picture of how the leader of the company looks at its platforms and products -- relevant if you're thinking of developing for them.

Windows Phone only has 3 percent market share, and the company will be cutting down the number of devices it releases. So why would you make games for it? Rather than expecting devs to make Windows Phone apps, Nadella instead hopes to see developers make desktop apps that are compatible with Microsoft's range of Windows-compatible devices.

"The reason why anybody would want to write universal apps is not because of our three percent share in phones. It's because a billion consumers are going to have a Start Menu, which is going to have your app. You start the journey there and take them to multiple places. Their app can go to the phone. They can go to HoloLens. They can go to Xbox," Nadella said.

"If you come to Windows, you are going to be on the phone, too. Even if you want to come to Windows because of HoloLens, you want to come to it because of Xbox, you want to come to the desktop, all those get you to the phone."

The company's all-in-one app publishing solution, then, is something it'll push moving forward, as is its OS-level app store, which was not a big hit for Windows 8:

"Why then make all these changes to the Start Menu with Windows 10? It's not because I just want to bring back the old. It's because that's the best way to improve the liquidity our store. Windows 8 was great except that nobody discovered the store. In Windows 10, the store is right there and done in a tasteful way."

HoloLens, meanwhile, wowed the crowds at Microsoft's E3 press conference (as seen above) with a live-on-stage Minecraft demo. Nadella admits in this interview that MS bought Mojang not just for Minecraft's present-day success, but its future potential:

"We bought Minecraft for many reasons: because it's the number one PC app; it's the number one console app; it's the number one paid mobile app on iOS and Android. I wanted a hit game even for the new medium of mixed reality. And we will have that."

However, HoloLens is as much -- or more -- a business product as a consumer one. Nadella sees Microsoft equally serving both constituencies. But this product may actually be less about games, at least in the near-term.

"But, with the V.1 of HoloLens, I want us to push a lot more of the enterprise usage," he said. "In the HoloLens case, when I look at the interest, it's amazing how many are in hospitals, healthcare, retail. That's where I'm seeing the interest and we'll definitely go after it."

Interestingly, though, Nadella sees holographic tech coming from other companies down the road: "We will do HoloLens, and then, since the holographic computing platform is right there in Windows, there will be people who will build holographic computers beyond HoloLens."

For more on what HoloLens is really like, read our developer-oriented impressions of the device from Microsoft's Build conference.

Meanwhile, there's a lot more in the Nadella interview, and you can read the rest at ZDNet.

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