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Here's what to expect from Microsoft's newly launched Windows 11

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Windows 11 is officially on sale. Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Modern Life, Search & Devices Yusuf Mehdi joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss.

Video Transcript


AKIKO FUJITA: Well, Microsoft is rolling out its first major upgrade in six years. Windows 11 features a new user interface along with built-in teams video chat among other additional features. Let's bring in Yusuf Mehdi. He is Microsoft Corporate Vice President Modern Life, Search and Devices.

And, Yusuf, it's great to talk to you. We've got Dan Howley joining in on the conversation as well. You know, Yusuf, we've talked so much about how over the course of this last year the way in which we work has changed so much. And it feels like this version of Windows has incorporated a lot of those features. Talk to me about how the user experience is going to change with this upgrade?

YUSUF MEHDI: Absolutely. Well, first off I'm going to say I'm so excited to be here with you guys today. Looking at the start of it, as we see it a new era for the PC brought in by Windows 11 and defined by a more personal experience, more apps and devices, and a new more open platform for creators and developers. And the big changes are to your question of what we've learned over the last year is a couple of things. One, you know, in a world where life interrupts work and work interrupts life we need a calmer, you know, more sort of serene experience. And the new user experience on Windows 11 with the center taskbar, rounded corners on the Windows gives you that sense of calm.

Second thing is we've really brought the ability to do video calls, which is a big part of how we live our lives, how we teach our kids, how we work remotely. We've done a lot of tuning. And we even put a link right on the taskbar so you can one click text message. And finally, we put a lot of things in it to empower your productivity and inspire creativity, whether it's the new snap features, whether it's the new widgets that give you a personalized news feed, a bunch of new capabilities that really help you empower you in your daily life

DAN HOWLEY: Yusuf, this is Dan. You know, obviously, I think, the most visible change is the Start button moving from left to center. I know that's gotten some we'll say mixed reactions from some users. I happen to like. It I think the Start button looks better there and it's easier to access for touch.

I guess, you know, just from a basic standpoint of this question, why-- why-- why was that decision made? And I guess, is that in, you know, I guess, integral to Windows 11? Is that something that you guys were trying to change to give it a fresher look? Or was it something that was more important than that?

YUSUF MEHDI: Well, a big thing it did for us, Dan, is really the focus on having that really sort of centered calm experience in Windows. We did a lot of research. We talked to lots and lots of people. And putting that task at the center simplifying the experience, that's a big thing that we've seen.

And we see it in-- you get almost an emotional human reaction to it. And we think that inspires people's creativity. You know, but to your point, look, if even 1% of people say that, hey, those changes are something I'm not used to, for us with a billion users that use Windows 11, windows 10 every day, you know, that's 10 million people. So there's definitely going to be feedback, but so far the feedback has been very positive on it.

DAN HOWLEY: And I just want to focus on games real quick. You know, obviously we have teams chat in there trying to get that more front and center with consumers. But one of the big things that I think is interesting is that you've included the Xbox app now in Windows 11. And you talk a lot about, you know, Microsoft talks a lot in its documentation about how gaming is basically integral to Windows 11.

Why was that decision made? Why is Microsoft leaning more into games than Windows 10 or prior? Because it's not as though gaming was important-- wasn't important rather to prior generations of Windows. It's the biggest gaming platform in the world.

YUSUF MEHDI: Yeah, I mean, I think, you said it's spot on. The big thing for us is that gaming has really been the fastest growing form of entertainment of anything-- TV, music, video. And we want to continue to do the best job we can with Windows 11. And so some of the improvements there really speak to what people need now-- faster game loading time, better graphics resolution, and through the new Xbox Game Pass app we now let you stream apps directly from the cloud and let you easily find the apps you care about. So it's really about unlocking that next form of entertainment, the most popular form of entertainment on Windows.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yusuf, Dan mentioned the Start button. You've got the new task bar as well. I mean that's drawn a lot of comparisons to Apple's Mac OS.

And I know as a Mac user, I saw the new features on Windows. And well, this feels a lot more intuitive, sort of doesn't feel like so different between past windows and then having to use Apple's OS. And I wonder what the thinking is inside the company? How many users you think you can actually migrate over now that Windows is or has become much more open over the years?

YUSUF MEHDI: Yeah, so, I think, we're really excited as you probably know, we have over 1 billion people who use Windows on a regular basis. And, you know, I think, over the next couple of months our goal is to, you know, upgrade as many people as seamlessly possible on Windows 10. And of course, the best way to get access to Windows 11 is to buy a new PC because then you can take advantage of all of the new hardware for security, for better, you know, mics and better graphics.

And so we see that capability out there and we think that that will be a great way to enjoy-- enjoy the experience. You know, and a big part for us is really as we help people be more productive in their lives that new sort of centered experience we've got plus new capabilities, like the ability to snap windows and have multiple desktops, things we had in the past but we didn't make a simple now they're really simple with Windows 11.

JARED BLIKRE: I want to get back to our original discussion talking about some of the behavioral changes that happened with the pandemic I'm just wondering from Windows 10 to Windows 11, what did you drop as features or say, well, we don't really need to go in that direction anymore?

YUSUF MEHDI: That's a great question because there's so much detail in Windows. I think it's less so much-- it's less about what things we dropped and more about what things we emphasize. And so, you know, the first thing is we emphasize simplicity. And so we did try and remove a lot of the complexity of the user experience. We try to improve the Start button to have a simpler layout, make that more programmable from the cloud so that it can be updated.

Second thing is we have an all new store that has a bunch of capabilities. So now you get the widest array of apps. We've always had the best set of apps on Windows but now you can actually have Android apps.

So in the past when you've been using your PC and you're in the zone, if you will, being productive you might have to stop and look to your phone to, you know, order an Uber or to get some food from DoorDash, no longer. Now you can just do that right on your PC. You can even send text messages right off your PC. So those are some of the things we've tried to amplify. At the same time, we've tried to make the experience simpler for people by hiding some of the more complex things that people don't need to, you know, use on an everyday basis.

DAN HOWLEY: Yusuf, I have a question about Android apps. I know that they're not available out of the box with Windows 11 but they're coming to the Microsoft Store, the App Store that's part of Windows. Is there a timeline as to when that will be available? And why did you want to bring Android apps to Windows?

YUSUF MEHDI: Well, let me start with the second part of your question first. You know, our goal is to really empower people to be productive on Windows. We want to give people the widest choice of apps possible.

And so with now bringing Android apps is sort of a no brainer onto Windows now because, as I mentioned, a lot of times, you know, for most of us we're using our computer to be productive and then we get interrupted by a phone, a text message, or a notification. And then the next, you know, you're competing on your phone when you have the PC right there, which is a much better form factor because you have the screen and the keyboard in the mouse. So by having the Android apps right on Windows you're able to have that experience, you're able to be more productive and stay in your flow. That was really the big focus for us.

DAN HOWLEY: And just as a final I want to ask about people who are upgrading from current PCs. I have my own desktop that I built because I'm a huge dork. But when you go to install it there are some back-end issues that you have to clean up mostly about the it's the trusted chip to ensure better security for Windows 11, which is a great feature compared to prior generations of Windows. But it's also something that you have to go deep into system settings.

Now, for less tech savvy people that may be kind of a roadblock for them and installing the software. Is that going to become easier over time? And I guess, how does Microsoft expect those people to really upgrade if they have that issue?

YUSUF MEHDI: Yeah, there's a lot in there. And clearly, you're more tech savvy than the average person. Let me hit a couple of points just to you-- just to the comments.

First, we did make the bet to take advantage of the latest hardware that's out there on the market to improve security. So we have chip-to-cloud security in windows 11, which gives you that next level, you know, of capabilities. We wanted to give you better gameplay. We wanted to give you a better camera and mics because you're doing Zoom calls or teams calls. So we made that bet.

At the same time, we do want to be able to upgrade PCs. And so the goal that we've set for ourselves is that of PC sold in the last three to four years the vast majority are going to upgrade. And we're going to make that easy for people. So you don't have to go out and find it, we'll notify you when the time is ready.

And we're going to have a great app, a PC check app that will check your PC to tell you if it's eligible for upgrade. And if so, then we'll make that simple for you. And if not, then you can always stay on Windows 10.

We're going to continue to upgrade that for the next five years. And of course, what I would recommend is you get a new PC. There's never been a better time to buy a new PC than with Windows 11.

JARED BLIKRE: Well, as somebody who is in the market for a brand new PC I might put off that decision for a few weeks and get windows 11 installed in. Yusuf Mehdi, thank you for joining us today. Microsoft Corporate Vice President Modern Life Search and Devices.