As Microsoft continues to create momentum around the forthcoming release of Windows 10, there’s no doubt that interest in the new iteration of the most widely used desktop operating system in business environments is starting to build.
This week, Microsoft gave its most detailed preview yet of Windows 10, which unifies the end-user experience across mobile computing devices and desktop PCs. As part of that effort, Windows 10 will also support a new browser, code-named Project Spartan, which will stream a wide variety of content directly into the browser while also providing access to a range of virtual assistant services. It’s not clear exactly when Project Spartan will show up in a preview release of Windows 10, but Microsoft is making it clear it’s one of the primary reasons to upgrade.
Of course, from a channel perspective, the most interesting aspect of Windows 10 is that the upgrade from Windows 7 and 8 will be free for at least the first year Windows 10 is available. In addition, as part of the move to get organizations to think of Windows more as a service than a piece of software, Microsoft won’t charge extra for Windows 10 running on lower-end companion-class devices.
As interesting as that all might be, however, it may be still be a while before solution providers see widespread adoption.
Anthony Clendenen, a Microsoft architect with En Pointe Technologies, a longtime Microsoft partner, said most organizations are still getting over the migration to Windows 7. There may be some adoption of Windows 10 by individual end users who decide to upgrade on their own; however, for the most part, Windows 10 in corporate environments is going to be a 2016 phenomenon, Clendenen said.
Of course, when it comes to managing both Windows operating system and application upgrades, nothing will ever be the same. Windows upgrades in the future will be much more akin to smartphone application upgrades that rely on secure containers to get regularly updated, as opposed to being an actual corporate event. For solution providers, that means many of the processes they use to currently manage upgrades on behalf of their customers will soon be obsolete.
Whether the coming of Windows 10 essentially means Windows 8 is now an official orphan from a corporate perspective remains to be seen. But given how long it took most organizations to get to Windows 7, chances are the next time they have the appetite for a mass operating system migration most of them will opt to go straight to Windows 10.
Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.