Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 update will be made available for download for existing Windows 8 users as a free update worldwide on Thursday and then on new devices starting Friday, as the firm hopes to generate renewed interest in its latest operating system.
The 8.1 update is due to start rolling out in the UK from 12pm local time. The update comes around a year after the initial launch of Windows 8, which failed to generate much excitement in the consumer or enterprise markets, despite a strong push by vendors and Microsoft itself to try and entice buyers with its Surface tablets.
The Windows 8.1 update attempts to address a raft of issues that came to light with the original platform, chiefly the lack of a Start button to access apps, but also other issues such as security enhancements, customisable screen tiles and Internet Explorer 11.
Microsoft has said that the update will help enterprises in numerous ways such as by solving the issue of bring your own device (BYOD), by providing employees with a platform that comes with business-level functionality and security from the off.
The firm will also be launching its Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablet devices next week, which will run Windows 8.1, as the firm continues to push further into the hardware market to try to rival the success of firms such as Apple and Samsung.
So far this strategy has met little success but the new features on the updated devices could prove more enticing and with the Windows 8.1 update the firm will hope it has addressed a number of concerns that buyers raised with the platform.
However, with Apple set to unveil new iPad devices, a revamped Mac OS and new MacBook Pro devices at an event next Tuesday, the Redmond firm will still face daunting opposition as it tries to claw a space in the hardware market.
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