A lot of news was dropped on the first day of Build, and there are countless news articles on what was announced and what it all means. But you're busy, so who has time to read all that? Instead, stay apprised of the most significant developments by reading our coverage:
Build 2106: Hands On with Skype Bots — "If you download the latest Skype update for Windows Desktop, Build 22.214.171.124, the Skype Bots announced in preview today will be available for your use."
Build 2016: Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Anniversary Update — "Microsoft’s Terry Myerson took to the Build stage today in San Francisco and confirmed that the next major update to Windows 10 will arrive this summer and will be known as the Windows 10 Anniversary Update."
Then go through our list of the six key takeaways from the Wednesday keynote.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Microsoft Windows 10 celebrates its first anniversary this summer with an all-new edition called the Anniversary edition.
WHY IT MATTERS: The all-new edition is going to have new features including: the ability for developers to integrate Windows Hello into their own apps and websites (something that neither Android or Apple's operating systems can do); the ability for Microsoft Edge to recognize fingerprint ID; an increased focus on Windows Ink, including a resizable ruler and the ability to take notes without unlocking the device, the ability to draw on Maps, and Cortana being able to pull out relevant info from handwritten notes (like dates and contacts). Cortana's also getting beefed up in the update, with the ability to tap into Outlook and calendar requests, as well as reply to text messages.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The XBox is getting pulled into the wider Microsoft family, with the XBox Store being folded into the Windows Store and the XBox getting the capability to act as a dev console and to run any app that's been converted to a Universal Windows App.
WHY IT MATTERS: This integration gives Microsoft a chance to take a run at Steam, it gives developers access to Xbox-only features like bundles, pre-orders and season passes, and it gives users access to Siri via their Xbox consoles. (Which, anti-Microsoft people will doubtless point out, finally brings those users on par with Apple folks who have been chatting up Siri through their set-tops for a while.)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Skype is about to get smarter, thanks to a bot framework that will encourage strong integration with Cortana.
WHY IT MATTERS: Users can, in theory, do things like book travel, make a hotel reservation, share files with people, and generally automate some of the contextual information management tasks formerly delegated to the most boring parts of your day. For developers, this means an opportunity to write bots that walk users through all sorts of actionable tasks that require a little information and a lot of user feedback.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Microsoft's serious about the Universal Windows Platform.
WHY IT MATTERS: The company is providing a tool to convert current Windows apps to the new universal platform. The tool works on 16 million Win 32/.Net apps, thus allowing the new, converted apps to work on any device running a version of Windows 10 -- desktop or laptop computer, tablet, phone or XBox.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Microsoft is rolling out a Bash shell in Windows 10.
WHY IT MATTERS: The ability to run a command line natively within Windows 10 is a clear and obvious play for making the Windows 10 machine a one-stop dev environment.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Microsoft's approach to machine learning and artificial intelligence is not "man vs. machine," but rather "man with machine."
WHY IT MATTERS: Remember how Satya Nadella began steering the company in its current direction with the "mobile first, cloud first" mantra? He's got a new focus: conversation as a platform. We will, presumably, converse with the bots (preferably without turning them into hate speech-spouting Twitter feeds) and they will, presumably, help anticipate tasks that would require collecting and acting on information. Bots, which are one manifestation of artificial intelligence and heavily dependent on user interaction, are meant to help developers identify tasks to be automated and build bots around them.