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Inside Scoop: Microsoft unveils Windows 8.1Microsoft is trying to woo developers and users with its update to Windows 8, aptly named Windows 8.1. At the annual Microsoft Build developers conference, CEO Steve Ballmer showed off the new software, announced the return of the Start button, and gave...
-Hello and welcome to Inside Scoop. I'm Sumi Das. We are at Build 2013. This is the developer conference for Microsoft. Joining me is Josh Lowensohn, Senior Writer for CNET. Josh, thanks for being with us. -My pleasure. -Okay. So we've just emerged from the keynote on day 1. -Yes. -Almost 2 hours, Steve Ballmer was there. That's notable. Not a lot of news though coming out of this keynote. Really this was the first sort of preview that we've been able to get at Windows 8.1, right? -Yes. And you know if you're not familiar with Windows 8.1, it's not a complete rethink of Windows 8. -Right. Not an overhaul by any means. -Right and I mean that's what the 0.1 means. It's basically taking some of the feedback they got from the first Windows 8 release and really kind of changing things around. One of these big changes is kind of making the software more useful for desktop users. That means booting people right to the homescreen and adding the start menu back. They-- -The Start button-- they got a lot of cheers when they announced that. -They did and it's kind of weird because when Windows 8 first came out, it was this thing where they changed everything. They changed the design. They changed how you use all its features, and I think they thought it was the way it was gonna be and I think they got some feedback from developers. They're like this is a little crazy. At least from users too. -Too radical, pull back. -Absolutely. -Okay. So the Start button is back. Any other tweaks that you found notable? -You know they've really put Bing more in the front seat. -Yes. That was an integral part of this keynote. They kept on talking about Bing. -Absolutely and now it's kind of integrated, so you can search the web. You can also search your file. All that stuff is really kind of populated and they also pulled SkyDrive and people can now add more Bing features to their apps. They said that they can do that before but they've kind of made some changes where you can pull things like 3D maps and Wikipedia articles, all sorts of things from their search index. -They demo'd voice search. -They kind of have this thing where Apple thinks about Siri as their own little voice so they kind of pitch this thing more where the utility was inside the app. So it didn't really matter what you're in. You could tweak things to be more kind of conversational and useful. -Any parts of the keynote that surprised you? -They gave away some really expensive hardware, so-- -They did. -They gave developers Acer Iconia tablet which was you know got a lot of-- -8-inch tablets. -Yes. People were not expecting it. It's a very new device and then later on, they kind of brought back out a Surface Pro and everyone is like okay, whatever, Surface Pro, it's old news and they're like everybody gets one. It was totally Oprah moment. -It was an Oprah moment. You get a Surface, you get a Surface. Is this something that they've done in the past where they kind of taking a page out of Google's book because they tend to give away a lot of hardware to their developer conferences. -I would say 2 devices is definitely a lot especially when you think of some of the convergence possibly. I mean both these are really good tablets and touch devices that work with keyboards. So it's kind of surprising they would just kind of push both those things instead of giving like a phone and maybe a tablet or something. That's what Google tends to do. But I think they really want developers to like have as much Windows 8 action as they can to really tweak their apps. So I think doubling down and giving them 2 is kind of like not so subtle like get working on apps. -Right. They wanna see more apps in the App Store. -Absolutely. -All right. Okay. Josh, thanks so much. -My pleasure. -For Inside Scoop, I'm Sumi Das. Thanks for watching.