For nearly 3 decades Windows OS has been at the centre of sales strategy for Microsoft Corporation NASDAQ:MSFT). The scenario, however, is changing fast.

The Microsoft Surface event that took place on last Wednesday had a lot of exciting new announcements in store for the public. Out of these, the revelation of the new Surface Duo and Surface Neo devices sparked the most ripples. And naturally, the products lined up for a late 2020 release are in their very first promotion cycle.

In one such promotional interview, company CEO Satya Nadella told the news publication The Wired that Windows “is no longer the most important layer” for Microsoft. While the statement left many quite surprised, rather stunned, it, however, isn’t an unexpected or unforeseen one. The 2018 departure of Windows’ chief, Terry Myerson, and the reorganization of the existing Windows team gave away some hints.

Moving on from Windows

This reshuffle saw the team split into 2 distinct crews. The core developmental unit of Windows was merged with the Microsoft Azure team, the cloud and the AI platform of the company. The second team evolved to become the “Experiences & Devices” team from the “Windows and Devices” team. This made it clear that Microsoft’s focus was now shifting to expanding and integrating cloud & AI into a larger range of their services.

The Surface Duo and Surface Neo

At present, Microsoft’s AI and cloud efforts to make its services more accessible to users of other OS are taking shape in the form of the new Surface Duo and Surface Neo devices.

These products are dual-screen devices, both of varying screen sizes. A 360-degree hinge allows users to fold and use them as single-screen devices, as well. However, the devices shouldn’t be confused with foldable-screen devices.

Microsoft Surface Duo

The Surface Neo, when functioning as a single-screen device, is speculated to be about 9 inches. When unfolded to its dual-screen capacity, it will come up to the size of a laptop. It has Bluetooth connectivity for an external keyboard for when users wish to use it as a PC. The device’s OS is going to be the all-new Windows 10X, specially tailored for dual-screen devices.

The Surface Duo is the more compact one of the two, with each screen measuring 5.7 inches. But unlike Microsoft’s past attempts at phones with a Windows OS, the Surface Duo runs on Android. This is a big step forward for Microsoft, compared to their previous tenacity to branding.

Embracing evolution

Microsoft’s decision to finally adapt to a more appropriate OS for mobile devices shows a will for constructive change. Panos Panay, the chief product officer of Microsoft, explained it with reference to the wider range of apps and Android OS supports.

He told The Vergecast:

“You want to give customers what they want in the form factor that they’re using. We’ve learned this — let’s put the right operating system on the wrong product or the other way around. But what’s the right operating system for the form factor? And in this case, on mobile devices, Android’s the obvious choice. ”

The obvious tangent this leads to is the possibility of Windows being replaced with Android. However, Panay holds Windows will still be in use as long as customers use devices to which an Android OS isn’t suited.

Thus, although Windows was one of the chief products of Microsoft for a very long time, it will take a seat on the back burner as Microsoft works on developing newer tech.

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