The biggest news that came out of Microsoft last month was the announcement about Windows 10. We have to be honest that the name was a bit of a surprise. We were expecting Windows 9 or just “Windows” (you know, like “iPad”), but they got us on this one. Apparently, Microsoft is signifying that this will be their final “major” release of their flagship product, with the future bringing on evolutionary, in-place tweaks and modifications. This is probably a smart move as most customers are prone to skipping versions, at least for the last 15+ years or so. Here’s what we know so far:
- One application platform so our developers have one way to write a universal app that targets everything.
- One store so there is one way for applications to be discovered, purchased, and updated across devices.
- One experience across devices that are tailored to each type of device – whether it is a device with no screen or one with an 80" screen and whether it is a touch device in your hand or one that is 10' away that you control with gestures.
- Automatically refreshes so Windows 10 is always up to date. It also features in-place upgrades that can make device wipe-and-reload scenarios obsolete.
- Security is core: identity, threat, and malware protections are built-in; protection follows data wherever it resides; and two-factor authentication is easy to use and manage.
Here’s what we’re waiting for: what is the licensing going to look like? Let’s face it, Windows licensing has always been a mess – between OEM, reimaging, Pro, Enterprise, upgrades, etc. there are a LOT of rules about what you can and can’t do. Will Microsoft continue to offer both Pro and Enterprise editions, or will there be a single edition? Will Windows become a subscription product the way VDA is today? Will it become a ‘per user’ license? If Windows 10 is truly Microsoft’s last significant release, it would make sense that they may be considering some of these changes.
We should also mention that Windows 7 consumer editions (Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate) will no longer come pre-installed on new machines after October 31 (OEM’s will be permitted to sell their remaining stock after that date). However, we still have no date on when Windows 7 Pro will face a similar cutoff. Microsoft will provide 1-year notice for this.
What are we hearing about Windows deployment? Windows 7 Pro and Enterprise are without question the dominant operating systems out there today. It’s true that Windows 8 has just overtaken XP in terms of market share, but that says more about the strength of XP than it does about 8. We do have several customers that are adopting Windows 8, but it is mostly customers with a significant mobile workforce. So Windows 8 is no Vista, but many IT pros are waiting to see what the next Windows OS has in store. We are eager as well.
Finally, remember all the noise about Windows XP going end of life? Well, if you haven’t heard, Windows Server 2003 is hitting the same milestone in July of next year. As someone who talks to a lot of IT Managers and CIOs, I can attest that there is a TON of 2003 out there today. Time to start planning that 2012 migration. Good times!