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All eyes on Microsoft as it announces updates

Executives laid out some upcoming changes at the annual Microsoft Build conference. The company announced an update to Windows 8.1 as well as Windows Phone 8.1.

Windows Phone 8.1 has a new "Siri-like" assistant named Cortana, powered by Bing. Cortana gets to know you better over time by asking questions based on your behavior and checking in with you before she assumes you're interested in something.

"If that creeps you out, you can go into this little notebook that they have and you can decide what features and what information Cortana knows about you," said Mark Spoonauer, editor-in-chief at Laptop Mag.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivers a keynote address during the 2014 Microsoft Build developer conference in San Francisco.
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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivers a keynote address during the 2014 Microsoft Build developer conference in San Francisco.

Updates to Windows 8.1 include improvements to the Start screen including the ability to boot straight into the desktop and a more familiar task bar, which is supposed to create an easier user experience.

Current Windows 8.1 customers will receive the update for free through Windows Update.

It's Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella's first Build conference and Spoonauer said the company seems to be more open under his leadership, at least at this very early stage of his reign.

"I think what's going to be really critical for the company is they're talking about this one Windows experience that extends across multiple devices, whether it is the Xbox or wearables, and I certainly want to see where they go in that direction, because there's a lot of excitement around it but we haven't heard a lot from Microsoft when it comes to things like smartwatches or heads-ups displays and they seem to be constantly playing catch-up when it comes to smartphones, regardless of the platform. For a change, I'd like to see them on the cutting edge," said Spoonauer.

—By CNBC's Christina Medici Scolaro.