The software giant shows off tactics and strategies designed to help the company better compete in an age when mobile and Web-based computing prevail.

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SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled the latest steps in its plan to stay relevant in a world defined by mobile and Web-based computing.

The steps, some of which would have seemed out of character in years past, are signs of a company in transition as it tinkers with how it develops software and how its products and services compete in the marketplace.

The moves come as Microsoft’s historic personal-computer comfort zone is in decline amid competition from smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices mostly powered by Apple- or Google-built software. The Redmond software giant is betting it can thrive by reaching out to businesses, technology consumers and developers on the platforms they’re already working with.

At the company’s three-day Build conference in San Francisco, which began Wednesday, Microsoft is making its pitch to the developers who write the code underlying everything from call-center software to games and photo-sharing applications.

Chief Executive Satya Nadella touted the use of Office as a base for other companies to write programs and add-ins. Enterprise and cloud-computing czar Scott Guthrie outlined plans to release versions of the company’s proprietary developer tools for Apple and Linux operating systems.

And Terry Myerson, who’s leading the development of the upcoming Windows 10 operating system, announced a tool to help developers who have shunned Microsoft in favor of Google and Apple to convert their code to Windows.

The shift in strategy has occurred mostly during Nadella’s first 14 months as chief executive. Rather than trying to force businesses and consumers to Microsoft’s products at all costs, executives now acknowledge the technology universe can’t be defined by one company or platform.

The notion of competing ecosystems “is shaping up to be an important pillar of the new Microsoft,” said Al Hilwa, an analyst with researcher IDC.

The new Microsoft was on display from the first minutes of the conference, when Ben Golub, chief executive of server-applications company Docker, took the stage to share his view of the ease of linking his products into Microsoft’s network of Web-accessed servers. Among the surprises?

“This has happened quickly,” he said.

Early speakers Wednesday focused on features of Microsoft’s cloud-computing infrastructure and examples of how its clients at companies from 3M to Ford were using them, but the focus of the event was on Microsoft’s upcoming operating system.

With Windows 10, expected to be released this summer, Microsoft executives are aiming to break the company free from its dependence on PCs by creating an operating system that functions well regardless of what device customers are using, including the showpiece HoloLens holographic headset that was displayed again on Wednesday.

The stakes are high. Microsoft failed to capitalize on the smartphone revolution in the years after Apple released the iPhone and Google debuted its free-to-use Android operating system. Despite billions of dollars in investment in mobile software and hardware, Microsoft holds a single-digit market share in smartphones and tablets.

That makes some developers reluctant to take the time to write separate apps for Windows Phone, a potentially fatal blow to Microsoft’s operating system as people increasingly interact with devices accessed from the palm of their hand.

“Our goal is to make Windows 10 the most attractive development platform ever,” Myerson said. In addition to the bridge to convert Google and Android code, Myerson announced plans to help developers fill the new Windows application store with programs converted from websites and older versions of Windows. In Microsoft’s vision, that will close the gap between the Windows Store on mobile devices and the marketplaces overseen by Google and Apple.

The crowd of thousands of developers loudly applauded many of the steps as they were announced, but in conversations afterward some said they needed more details on how the well the shifts would work.

“The idea of using a single store and workflow for developers to post their apps is a great idea,” Hilwa said.

Myerson said that to make writing programs for the revamped Windows Store an attractive proposition for developers, Microsoft will have to get a critical mass of users plugged in to the operating system.

“We know we need to get Windows 10 … adopted quickly,” he said. Microsoft, he said, is aiming to have 1 billion active users of the operating system in the next two to three years.

Other developments at the conference Wednesday:

• The company said its business cloud operation will grow to a $20 billion-a-year unit during the company’s fiscal year beginning in July 2017. That’s an ambitious goal, given the group of businesses — which includes corporate subscriptions to Office 365, as well as developer and business use of Web-accessed data storage and processing power — was on track to be a $6.3 billion-a-year business in the three months ended in March.

• Microsoft’s HoloLens had another showing. The surprise star of the company’s Windows preview event in January was hailed as the kind of moonshot technology rare at modern, buttoned-up Microsoft, but observers wondered if the technology would find enough practical applications.

A demonstration showed how the holographic headset could allow employees of an engineering and construction company to walk through visualizations of their projects. A doctor demonstrated how the device could be used to project life-size models for medical students.

Microsoft also sees the device as one with applications in the home. A Microsoft employee used the HoloLens to project applications into his environment, pinning a Skype chat window to one wall of a room and projecting a video on another.

• Microsoft showed off Microsoft Edge, the sequel to its Internet Explorer Web browser designed to better tap in to the modern Internet. It had been code-named Spartan.

Microsoft design executive Joe Belfiore said that just as Microsoft’s app store would help developers re-purpose their Google or Apple applications for Windows devices, Edge was designed to allow browser modifiers written for Google’s Chrome to be retooled to run on Edge. That means advanced features developed for Google’s browser could be migrated to Edge.

Microsoft’s 20-year-old Internet Explorer, which held a dominant market share in the early 2000s, lost its perch to Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox amid security concerns, antitrust scrutiny, and Microsoft’s small share on mobile devices.

• With smartphones essentially lightweight computers. Microsoft took the concept a step farther with its “continuum” feature displayed on Wednesday. Windows 10 will enable smartphones, when plugged into a computer monitor, to automatically shift from touch-focused handset mode to the operating system’s desktop configuration.