Plain, simple and straight: Windows 10 will be the last OS of Windows family. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has just cleared the air that was surrounding for months now. Speaking at the on-going multi-day conference, Microsoft Ignite, the company’s developer evangelist Jerry Nixon dropped a bombshell that has left the whole tech world shocked and stunned.
“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,” he said.
Does that mean the company is winding up its OS business or dumping Windows OS or surrendering to growing competition? Is the company trying to down play the competition by quoting something that leaves OSX fans happy? Um, No !
Nixon’s statement may start alarm bell ringing for many, but the reality is Windows 11 is never going to be a reality, simply because the company will keep improving and upgrading Windows 10. Microsoft is trying to morph Windows OS for good and to make it available for Free to most of its current users.
No more, users would be able to walk into a store and buy Windows OS box. Microsoft has planned to take Windows 10 online and users having Windows 7 or Windows 8, will have to install new Windows Update over the top of it. All the new features and upgrades will come in a form of updates, marking the end of increasing serial number that follows the word “Windows”.
Eventually, Microsoft is shifting Windows from software to “software as a service” model. To be available in Subscription model, all Windows 7 and Windows 8 users would be able to download Windows 10 for free but only for the first 12 months. It would be more akin to Google Chrome OS that doesn’t demand to reinstall the fresh copy of the OS that contains new major upgrades. In Chrome all the upgrades and updates are downloaded in background and a user doesn’t need to go through the whole reinstallation process to make new features available for self; all it demands a fresh restart of the system.
Even it is the architecture change, something Windows has gone through with the launch of Windows 7, Windows 10 users won’t notice any change as all the processing will happen in the background. Remember, two years back, how Google replaced it complete browser engine from open-source WebKit to its homegrown Blink without disturbing users.
The Strategy Behind Windows 10 SaaS
The growing competition and the fast changing market dynamics have apparently forced Microsoft to adopt the real meaning of Apple’s previous tagline: Think Different.
Instead of waiting to ship Windows 10 with all the promised featured, now the company has the flexibility of launching the OS in the market even if some of the features are not ready yet. For an example, Edge – Microsoft’s new browser – has to have new set of extensions and the company needs time to develop in-house. Now, with the new arrangement Windows 10 could come with Edge but extensions will follow later. This will help Microsoft to keep introducing new features to the OS as and when the company wants.
Another important aspect of strategy is to reduce the fragmentation challenge by taking control on upgrade and upgrades. Despite the fact that Microsoft had ended the support in April 2014, 10.9 percent of Desktop users are still using Windows XP. 53.81 percent are using Windows 7, while 15.76 percent are booting their Desktop with Windows 8.1 OS. Once a user buys and installs any of existing OS, Microsoft doesn’t have any control over the OS, as far as the upgrade decision of concerned. After installing Windows 10 Microsoft could easily push all the latest and important updates into users system in background, providing a controlled and secured OS environment.
But, it’s not going to be users alone, who would be benefited from the new Windows 10 system. Switching from offline to SaaS will help Microsoft cut the OS cost further. In fact, the buy-once, use-forever strategy will help the company easily convert the pirated users to licensed users. Users won’t have to pay the upgrade price at regular interval to keep them updated with the new features of the OS.
The strategy has a significant positive effect on Microsoft’s business model; using the subscription model, users will keep getting the upgrade as far as the hardware exists and supports them. It is like Smartphone OS; once you buy you keep upgrading the OS as and when company rolls it out without paying any additional price for the new OS or upgrades.
In a nutshell, Microsoft is betting big time on Cloud technology by switching Windows OS from offline mode to SaaS model. Users would keep getting updates and Windows 11 will never come into existence.
So what the future holds for Microsoft? Will it go full-saas?