US software giant Microsoft says that Windows 10 will the the final release of its iconic PC operating systems that’s installed on more than 90% of the world’s computers.
Windows 10 will be the last…
“Right now we’re releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we’re all still working on Windows 10”, said Jerry Nixon, Microsoft’s developer, at the company’s Ignite conference.
Instead of a new and updated version of the OS being released every few years, Microsoft seems to be planning an Apple-like approach to new Windows releases, standardising on Windows 10 as it’s US-based rival has done with OS X. With this new strategy, it seems that Microsoft will deliver regular improvements and enhancements to Windows via software updates.
Windows as a service
Previously, anyone could go into a shop and buy a copy of Windows and then install it on their computer. With the new Windows 10, widely expected this summer, Microsoft is changing that way that users upgrade to Windows.
Windows 10 will be available as a completely free upgrade to all Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 users. From July, owners of those versions can just update using Windows Update at no cost.
Microsoft says it will continue to deliver Windows this way as a service, with frequent updates to Windows 10. There will also be new ways to download Windows, as well as the updates, through multiple sources in order to get them more quickly. Users can download Windows 10 updates via Microsoft’s servers, and from local and connected PCs that have already got the updates – kind of like a file sharing service in which local machines can just pass on the updates to others.
Focus on mobile
The relatively new Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, has always touted the ‘cloud-first, mobile-first’ approach to its business, and that also applies to Windows. The new OS will split up the main components to deliver faster updates apparently. The Start menu and build-in apps are now separate from the main operating system, so rather than waiting for a full Windows update, smaller standalone app updates can be delivered, something that’s already been seen with the Windows Insider Preview.
This approach may allow smartphone companies to update core apps, like the camera, photo gallery and mail, without having to wait for the mobile operators to push out OS-wide updates. Though you might just say why not adopt an iPhone model in which everyone gets the updates independently of the network operators…
Like Windows 10, Microsoft will use a similar strategy with Office. Office 365, the subscription service, already delivers the most up to date Office experience to all users, regardless of the device you are using. Office 365 customers will soon have access to Office 2016, which adds lots of new features and cloud-based collaboration.
What comes next?
After Windows 10 is finally launched this summer, Microsoft will be working on the next update, codenamed Redstone, which is scheduled to arrive in 2016, adding Windows 10 support to more devices like the virtual reality / augmented reality device, the HoloLens.