This week during the Inside 3D Printing conference in Chicago, Microsoft senior program manager Jesse McGatha expanded on the company's previous announcement that Windows 8.1 would support 3D printing. The company said at the end of June that plug-and-play support for 3D printing would transform how consumers create just like how desktop publishing transformed the way everyone wrote. If anything, the company will be ready for a market that will supposedly reach $3.1 billion by 2016.
According to McGatha, around 70 percent of the makers and researchers who are experimenting with 3D printing are doing so on a Windows-based machine. Because of this number, it made sense for Microsoft to make 3D printing a "commonplace thing" in Windows 8. But in order for 3D printing to catch on, Microsoft will face some "outstanding challenges" that will need to be resolved like the speed and quality of the printing process and products.