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Microsoft's New Windows Marketing Boss Explains What Happened To Windows 9

Microsoft Tony ProphetBusiness Insider/Julie BortTony Prophet, Microsoft corporate vice president, Windows Marketing

Today, we have Windows 8.1. The next version of Windows is on its way: Windows 10.

So, what happened to Windows 9?

“It came and it went,” said new Microsoft Windows marketing boss Tony Prophet on Monday on stage at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. He was quoting Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella who has been answering that question much the same way.

Microsoft doesn’t want people to associate the next version of Windows with the unpopular Windows 8.

“Windows 10 is not going to be an incremental step from Window 8.1,” he explained. “Windows 10 is going to be a material step. We’re trying to create one platform, one eco-system that unites as many of the devices from the small embedded Internet of Things, through tablets, through phones, through PCs and, ultimately, into the Xbox.”

Even the way Microsoft is building Windows 10 is different.

Microsoft is letting people try it way earlier in the development process than ever before, with a new version it calls The Technology Preview.

The Windows 10 Tech Preview version was released two weeks ago and has already been downloaded 1 million times, he said.

Microsoft also did exhaustive testing for Windows 8 before releasing it, 1.24 billion hours. It’s just that the Windows team famously didn’t listen to the feedback they were getting about how clunky it was to use. Pundits were even calling Windows 8 another Vista months before it even shipped.

But Prophet says Microsoft won’t make the same mistake.

“The reason we’re doing that is so we can listen to our customers,” he says, particularly enterprise users.

That’s also different. They were pretty much ignored by Windows 8, which was all about a touch screen for tablets. Many enterprises responded by ignoring Windows 8. They have been upgrading from XP to Windows 7.

“Our objective with Windows 10 is … to build absolutely the best OS for the enterprise. That’s the early focus,” Prophet said. “We’ve got the process. We’ve got a million people using it. And we’re listening.”

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