On Wednesday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave the opening keynote address at the company’s Build 2013 developer conference in San Francisco. In a high-energy presentation, he showed off numerous new devices and promised, “You will see an outpouring of new devices,” powered by Windows 8, particularly small tablets and other devices with touchscreens.
In addition, Ballmer talked up Windows 8.1, the upcoming version of the company’s flagship operating system. He said they were “refining the blend” of the OS, and he mentioned that it would bring back the familiar Start button from older versions of Windows—an announcement that elicited cheers. He also said the company is working to update its software more quickly.
The Wall Street Journal’s Shira Ovide noted that Microsoft is “making its pitch to developers at an awkward time.” Ovide added, “If Microsoft’s developer tent revival wasn’t punctuated by the same frenzy common at similar events for Apple (WWDC) and Google (Google I/O), that may be a reflection of the ground Microsoft has lost to Google, Apple and others for the hearts of people who create software–both professionals and the hobbyists who write iPhone apps in their spare time. Many of those software developers are no longer using Microsoft computing languages or tools.”