Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is about to host its Build Windows developer conference in June, and will release a public preview of Windows 8.1, known as "Blue." It's now been six months since Windows 8 was launched, and reception has been poor.

Blue will be the company's first opportunity to address some of these criticisms, including the removal of the Start Menu. There have also been clues that Blue will include support for smaller devices and form factors, paving the way for Microsoft's foray into the lower end of the market.

Rivals Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) are hosting their own developer conferences between now and Build Windows, and some major product announcements are expected. Apple will show off iOS 7, OS X, and possible new MacBooks. Google will detail the next version of Android, and possibly unveil a new Nexus smartphone.

In the video below, Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, discusses how blue Microsoft's summer will be.