Just when you thought it was safe to escape from the office, Microsoft is trying to pull you back.
OK, not everyone is interested in skipping the beach to immerse themselves in bright and shiny Windows 10.
But odds are some are so eager for the long-promised operating system from the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant that they may at least be willing to skip a cookout or two.
Just today, Microsoft announced Windows 10 will be made generally available this summer in 190 countries. The word came from Windows EVP Terry Myerson during a speech at the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) summit in Shenzhen, China.
In a blog post, Myerson steers clear of an actual date (don't cancel those travel plans yet, please). All we know for sure is that the product will hit the market between June and September.
Myerson didn’t explain why the announcement was made at a conference in China. But in a few videos that accompany the blog post, he discusses a partnership with the Chinese ISP giant Tencent, along with plans to get Windows 10 on mobile devices.
"Our goal was to build Windows with some amazing Chinese partners that really understand the Chinese market… so partnering with Tencent and bringing Windows 10 to their customers and bringing their games and applications to Windows 10 was a great combination," Myerson states in the video.
Microsoft has also inked partnerships with some other Chinese giants, including Lenovo and Qihu 360. (Let's hope Lenovo installs only Windows 10 this time — and skips anything resembling Superfish.)
Microsoft is not the only company with an eye on the Chinese market. IBM has already shown that there’s a lot of money to be made there.
Myerson said the worldwide simultaneous launch of Windows 10 in 111 languages reflects its global appeal. In the past, Microsoft has tended to release products region-by region because of market conditions and localization issues.
Those who are currently using Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 will get the opportunity to upgrade for free within the first year of the release of Windows 10.
Myerson also used the speech to announce a new Windows 10 feature called Windows Hello. It's supposed to make Windows 10 more personal by providing instant access to your devices through biometric authentication.
Windows Hello requires specialized hardware such as a fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor or other biometric sensor. Meyerson said Microsoft is working closely with hardware partners to deliver Windows Hello-capable devices that will ship with Windows 10.
For the Internet of Things, he said Windows 10 will support today’s maker boards, enabling makers to "do amazing things with Windows."
For the first time, a new version of Windows for small footprint IoT devices will be available – for free – when Windows 10 launches. Windows 10 will offer versions of Windows for a diverse set of IoT devices, ranging from powerful devices like ATMs and ultrasound machines, to resource constrained devices like gateways,” he said.
There’s a lot riding on this release for Microsoft and for those that use the Windows operating system in their hardware.
Leaving aside the problems of Window 8 and the reluctance of enterprises to leave the tried-and-trusted Window 7 (or even XP) behind, flagging PC sales have put a big dent in Microsoft’s Windows business.
Whether Windows 10 can turn things around or not is anyone’s guess.
But given that Microsoft has already changed its play — releasing in the summer rather than in the pre-holiday fall season as it has done in the past — we can speculate that it is hoping for good, if not great, things from Windows 10.