This week, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) released Windows 8.1, the first major update to its controversial Windows 8 operating system that launched a year ago. At the heart of the debate is Microsoft's ambitious shift to a tile interface that's a departure from the interface that Windows users had become accustomed to after nearly two decades. Windows 8.1 still embraces the tile interface, but Microsoft has now tried to incorporate it more seamlessly with the traditional desktop. The tile interface is what Microsoft now uses across all devices, including those that run Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.
Early reviews around the Web are universally positive on Windows 8.1, as Microsoft has addressed the operating system's biggest criticisms. Microsoft has also added new features, such as beefing up syncing capabilities through SkyDrive.
Windows remains Microsoft's second most important business, generating $9.5 billion in operating income last fiscal year. Meanwhile, Microsoft has restructured its reporting segments and will now distinguish between its consumer and commercial businesses. On the consumer side, Windows OEM sales will show whether average users are ready for Windows 8. On the commercial side, the enterprise is migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7.
In this segment of Tech Teardown, Erin Kennedy discusses Microsoft's latest release with Jamal Carnette and Evan Niu, CFA.
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