Microsoft Build 2016 Keynote Summary

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 30, 2016
Updated • Mar 31, 2016

Microsoft's Build 2016 Developer Conference started earlier today with a keynote in which Microsoft revealed new information about Windows 10 and new features that would come to the operating system.

While you may have read about one or the other feature already on sites that pushed out news blurbs as soon as Microsoft employees revealed them on stage.

Anyway, this article is for those who want a single article that reveals all the important information and tidbits that Microsoft revealed during the keynote.

Anniversary Update is the name of the update that will bring many of the features mentioned by Microsoft to the Windows platform. It will come this Summer.

Windows 10 on more than 270 million devices

Microsoft revealed today that eight month after launch, Windows 10 is now on 270 million active devices. That's an increase of about 70 million devices since January 2016, when Microsoft revealed that Windows 10 was running on more than 200 million devices.

The company revealed other numbers of interest. Windows 10 users spent 75 billion hours in Windows 10, and that more than 500 new devices built specifically for the platform have been released already.

Cortana, the digital assistant, answers one million questions per day.

Improved pen and ink support


Microsoft pushed pen support with its Surface line of devices and Windows 10, and the company showcased improvements coming to pen and ink support.

Improved Windows Ink support was highlighted mostly by showcasing new app functionality, like better integration of note taking with other apps such as the calendar to have time-related data picked up automatically, or map improvements that let you draw a line between to points on the map to get information about the length between both points.

There is also a new ruler and ruler-like templates that people can use, or better proofreading support in Office.

Bash coming to Windows 10

by Scott Hanselman
by Scott Hanselman

The Linux Bash (the real one, native, according to Microsoft) will come to Windows 10 with this summer's Anniversary Update.

This isn't Bash or Ubuntu running in a VM. This is a real native Bash Linux binary running on Windows itself. It's fast and lightweight and it's the real binaries. This is an genuine Ubuntu image on top of Windows with all the Linux tools I use like awk, sed, grep, vi, etc. It's fast and it's lightweight

Microsoft partnered with Canonical to bring Bash to Windows 10, and it will be provided as an application that users can download from Windows Store using a new Linux subsystem.

Apart from using Bash directly, it enables anyone to write and use .sh bash scripts on Windows. Also, you can use emacs and a bunch of editors directly now.

See Scott Hanselman's blog post for additional information about the integration.

Cortana becomes pro-active

Deeper integration of Cortana will come with the Anniversary update thanks to 22 new apis, the Microsoft Bot Framework and other features that introduce bot to the operating systems and apps running on it.

Cortana may, for instance, offer to buy you lunch or book a hotel room.

The digital assistant will be accessible on the lock screen, as well in apps such as Skype directly

Other changes announced

  • Microsoft Edge to support biometric verification.
  • Facebook Ad platform coming to the Universal Windows Platform.
  • You will be able to turn any regular Xbox One into a Xbox One Dev Unit.
  • Desktop App Converter is a new application that ports traditional desktop programs to the Universal Platform. This is showcased later on with Age of Empires II HD from Steam and Witcher 3.
  • Visual Studio 2015 Update 2 coming today.
  • All Microsoft games will be released for Xbox One and Windows 10 going forward.
  • Cortana will come to the Xbox One.
  • Single unified store coming to all devices running Windows 10 with the Anniversary Update.
  • HoloLens Dev Kit ships to developers and Enterprise partners today.
  • A new smartphone app is showcased that can identify objects and people around you. Designed to help blind people, it can identify age and gender, emotions, and read menus in restaurants to name a few things.
  • Check out CaptionBot which is a photo identifying AI.

Check out Microsoft's official blog post for further information.

Microsoft Build 2016 Keynote Summary
Article Name
Microsoft Build 2016 Keynote Summary
A summary of the most important features and changes coming to the Windows 10 platform as announced during the Microsoft Build 2016 Keynote.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. kalmly said on April 1, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Ho hum. So when are they going to produce an OS for my desktop?

    1. Gary D said on April 2, 2016 at 10:15 am


      the projected release date is the 35th of Daffodil :)

  2. RichardT said on March 31, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Does “The digital assistant will be accessible on the lock screen” mean that Cortana will be listening to everything happening in the room, whether Windows is logged on or not?

    1. ann said on April 4, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      yes offcoz, as “Cortana has to be listening to hear you say ‘turn system on’, or ‘log me in plz'”
      it’s not the literal quote though but quite close.

  3. Corky said on March 31, 2016 at 8:58 am

    “Facebook Ad platform coming to the Universal Windows Platform.”

    I almost wet myself laughing when i read that.

    1. qqqqq said on April 1, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      from tablet, phone, notebook, desktop and hand-watch

    2. dan said on March 31, 2016 at 11:35 am

      At long last, the feature we’ve all been waiting for… Facebook Ad platform!!

  4. Max Headroom said on March 31, 2016 at 6:10 am

    Don’t you mean Visual Studio 2015 Update 2?

  5. MikeFromMarkham said on March 31, 2016 at 12:38 am

    Thanks for the roundup, Martin. Please note however that Microsoft is claiming Windows 10 is active on 270 million devices. The actual number of users is unknown, but likely to be considerably smaller given that many Windows users have it installed on multiple devices.

    1. hirobo2 said on April 1, 2016 at 7:20 am

      Don’t think they will hit that 1 billion devices in 3 years target. It’s almost one year since the free upgrade offer… Only 270 million devices while Win10 upgrade still free? Imagine the steep drop off after this summer!

      1. Corky said on April 1, 2016 at 3:31 pm

        @Martin, AFAIK they already include the Xbox One and Windows Phones, although I’m not sure they add a great deal to the number Microsoft is using as the Xbox One has sold around 3 million, and even though IDK the numbers for Windows phones they probably aren’t that big.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on April 1, 2016 at 7:28 am

        Lets see: 33.75 million per month x 36 is 1.215 billion devices. I agree though that this will decline the moment they stop the free upgrade offer but if they add all Xbox One systems and new Windows Phone devices, then they will surely match the target.

    2. Gary D said on March 31, 2016 at 10:21 am

      270 million installs ? How many installs are on tablets,notepads, phones, etc?
      How many installs are on serious kit like Desktops/Laptops, . That is the crucial number for MS.
      Has anyone seen any breakdowns of the total into meaningful categories ?

      1. ann said on April 4, 2016 at 1:52 pm

        and how many have been reverted ?

        if they hit The 1 billion mark ?
        they about a a third in a third of the time span. so quite on track i’m afraid.

  6. JonnyRedHead said on March 30, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Still no proper full night time/dark mode working right across the OS.

    1. Croatoan said on March 30, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      You will always have F.lux :)

  7. SCBright said on March 30, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Cortana is not available in my language yet (Brazilian Portuguese), do you have any news about it?

    For me cortana is the most waited feature.

    1. All Things Firefox said on March 31, 2016 at 7:15 am

      After the Anniversary update, Cortana will be available in thirteen countries, but I don’t know which ones.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on March 30, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Spanish (Mexico), Portuguese (Brazil), and French (Canada) are tested in the insider channel currently I think.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.