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It’s officially 2014, and that means everybody and their dog is making futuristic predictions about the industry.
So what can we expect from the tech industry in 2014 and beyond? What big moves is Microsoft going to pull – if any? Today, we’re going to see if we can predict the future with our top predictions for this year:
Windows 8 was bad. Windows 8.1 was slightly better. What will that make Windows 8.2? Nobody knows. But we can expect Microsoft to release the latest update to its newest operating system sometime this year.
Windows 9 rumors start to emerge
Microsoft will likely release Windows 8.2 prior to releasing a new version of Windows 9. However, as the year moves on, expect to hear more and more about the mysterious new operating system called Windows 9. In October 2014, Windows 8 will be 2 years old and that’s usually when rumors about the next OS start to swirl. Hopefully, Microsoft will be able to hit its next operating system out of the park after a disappointing Windows 8 launch.
So far, the only rumored feature for Windows 9 is a ‘One Microsoft’ goal that would unite the Xbox One, Windows Phone, and PC into one unified operating system. If Windows 9 can successfully achieve that, it might mean spectacular things for Microsoft’s future as a tech giant.
Windows Phone 8.1 and Cortana
You might know Cortana best as your virtual companion from Halo. But in 2014, Cortana will be making headlines as Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now. Expect to see Cortana debut on Windows Phone later this year.
Cortana might be released on Windows Phone 8.1, but that seems unlikely at this point. Rumored Windows Phone 8.1 features include a notification center, better live tiles (more similar to Android widgets), and improved multi-tasking.
Big updates and bigger games for the Xbox One
Xbox One launched in November 2013 and has seen decent sales figures. However, there are only a limited number of Xbox One games available right now. In 2014, more and more developers are gearing up to release their first Xbox One games, which means we should see higher adoption rates and some exciting new games releases, including Halo 5 (!!!), Watch Dogs, and Destiny.
Over the year, Microsoft should iron out the remaining glitches in the Xbox One and continue working to make it the only device its users need in their living rooms.
The Surface 2 released in 2013 and provided a significant upgrade over the original Surface RT and Surface Pro. We’re expecting to see a Surface 3 sometime in late 2014.
The Surface 2 didn’t improve the physical design of the original Surface, which means that the Surface could be due for an upgrade. Expect to see faster hardware, a redesigned exterior, and a possibly thinner, lighter form factor.
Office for iOS and Android
For unknown reasons, Microsoft has been holding off on releasing an iOS and Android version of Office for quite some time. In 2013, Microsoft finally released Office 365 for the iPhone, although it featured limited functionality and required an Office 365 subscription.
2014 will likely be the year we see Microsoft Office appear on Android tablets and the iPad. Microsoft is rumored to be releasing Office for iOS and Android in mid to early 2014. However, Microsoft seems to be stubbornly clinging to its idea that the Surface will sell due to it being the only tablet with access to MS Office. With that in mind, who knows when we’ll see a mobile version of Microsoft Office?
A new CEO
This is one sure change that is guaranteed to happen in 2014. Steve Ballmer announced that he was stepping down in late 2013 and gave a timeframe of less than a year for his replacement to take over.
Expect a new CEO to be announced in early 2014. No matter who that CEO is, he or she is going to change the future of Microsoft as we know it.