Still no word on when Windows 10 becomes available

CEO Satya Nadella closes a three-hour keynote address at Microsoft's Build conference without answering one of the most-asked questions: when will Windows 10 arrive?

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the Build conference Wednesday. CNET

Microsoft spent much of a three-hour-long keynote address at its Build developer conference Wednesday talking up Windows 10.

But it held off answering one key question: when will the new version of its widely used operating system arrive?

Microsoft said in March that Windows 10 would launch this summer in 190 countries and 111 languages. However, chipmaker AMD, a longtime Microsoft partner, may have spilled the details earlier this month when its chief executive, Lisa Su, said in a call with investors that the release date was pegged for late July.

Many anticipated some clarification on the release date during Wednesday morning's presentation. But the company remained mum.

Windows 10 is touted as a simpler, more modern OS that seamlessly ties together desktops, laptops and smartphones. CEO Satya Nadella called it not just another release of Windows "but a new generation of Windows."

"Windows 10 represents a new generation of Windows built for an era for more personal computing, from Raspberry Pi to the holographic computer," Nadella said. "Where the mobility of the experience is what matters, not the mobility of the device."

Convincing the world that Windows 10 adds enough new features and technology to push the software forward and gain mainstream acceptance is the main goals of Microsoft's developers conference. But more broadly speaking, it's a test of whether the longtime technology titan can regain its swagger.

Microsoft not only turned off consumers with Windows 8, but it also drove them away. The 2-year-old software powers less than 15 percent of all computers in the world, according to NetMarketshare. That's well below its 6-year-old predecessor Windows 7, which powers more than half the desktop market, and it's even below Windows XP, now 14 years old, which commands nearly 20 percent on desktops.

With Windows 10, the company has gone back to basics, marrying the look and feel of Windows 7 with more modern design touches. The Start Menu is front and center again, and Microsoft is hoping to appease power users and those that depend on Windows in the workplace after Windows 8 was soundly rejected worldwide.

Gone is the tiled interface, once called Metro, that became the splashy and controversial face of Windows 8. But we can expect live tiles -- those interactive squares central to that design -- to live on. In an early look at the Start Menu during the Windows 10 unveiling in September, live tiles for social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter were present alongside squares for email and Skype.

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