The Windows 10 rumor mill has been in full swing since January of last year, but up until now, there was very little concrete information about the next operating system installment. This week, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 10 will be a major paradigm shift in the traditional operating system business model. Not only that, but for one year, Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade to all users with Windows 7, 8.1 and even Windows Phone 8.1.
The Windows 10 keynote address emphasized that Microsoft intends to treat Windows as a service moving forwards. This means that from this point onwards, it is unlikely that we will see new versions of the Windows platform. Instead, upgrades will be delivered automatically in the same way that system patches are applied now. What isn’t entirely clear is what sort of long term pricing model Microsoft will adopt to keep Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) lucrative.
Other companies, such as Adobe, have already adopted SaaS for its line of design software. Adobe Creative Cloud offers the entire library of design software to customers for a single monthly subscription fee. The initial speculation was that Microsoft would adopt a similar price model; get Windows 10 for free but you have to sign up for a monthly service to receive system updates. Since the press release, however, Microsoft has made the claim that all future OS updates and patches will be free. This does leave out one area that Microsoft has yet to comment on; the Windows Office Suite. Windows productivity software, such as Word, Excel and Outlook can already be had as part of the Office 365 monthly subscription. Going forward, it would not be surprising if this became the only option for businesses that upgrade to Windows 10. SaaS can be a useful feature when it comes to maintaining updates, but it does have its own drawbacks. Miss a payment, or choose to cancel your service and you will quickly find yourself with unusable software.
One piece of software that was shown in full is the next installment of the Windows web browser. Internet Explorer is often seen as a low point for Microsoft, surpassed by both Chrome and Firefox when it comes to performance and security. For Windows 10, Microsoft plans to distance itself from the IE brand with its new browser, Project Spartan. Spartan will have integration with the new personal digital assistant/search technology system that is built into every aspect of Windows 10. The browser will also offer the ability to annotate webpages and share them with others.
Windows 10 is expected to be released in the second half of this year.
– Richard Keene
IT Computer Support of New York
Webmaster and Lead Designer