By Jonathan Davies

Microsoft has launched the Windows 10 operating system.

The announcement left techies and customers surprised as Microsoft leapfrogged straight from Windows 8, leaving out Windows 9.

Windows 10 will run on smartphones, tablets, laptops and the Xbox games consoles.

Its latest operating system sees the return of the traditional desktop display with the 'Start Menu'. Microsoft said it wanted the new system to be familiar to both Windows 7 and Windows 8 users.

Windows 8 saw the 'Start Menu' removed in favour of block style apps. But Windows 10 will see both the traditional list and apps integrated into one 'Start Menu'.

Windows 8 had been criticised for being too different, which led to low adoption from businesses. Early versions of the operating system had no 'Start Menu' at all, but it was later introduced in a separate Desktop mode.

Businesses usually wait around a year before introducing new operating systems, allowing IT departments to get to grips with it. But two years after Windows 8 was introduced, adoption is still low. According to market research firm NetMarketshare, just 13.4% of all desktop PCs run Windows 8.

David Johnson, who watches Microsoft for the consultancy Forrester, said: "It's extremely important for Microsoft to get Windows 10 right.

"Windows 8 is only being offered to employees by about one in five organisations right now. Windows 7 is still the de facto standard for enterprise in the desktop environment.

"For Microsoft to continue to be able to get the best and latest technology in the hands of the enterprise workforce all over the world, it has to have a vehicle to do that - and Windows 10 is its best shot."

Microsoft is set to offer a "technical preview" of Windows 10 to early adopters next week.

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