Microsoft’s Windows is possibly the last commonly used piece of software (albeit a crucial one at that) still sold as a product. A single major version is released every few years, maintained, then superceded by another version that you buy again as an upgrade. This, however, seems to be coming to an end with Windows 10.
Microsoft is now planning on turning Windows 10 into a service, not a product. There will be no Windows 11, or 12, but Windows 10 will receive updates that are both major and minor as the company releases them, putting everyone on the same platform.
When it came to developing Windows 10 from Windows 8 Microsoft took a different tack, breaking the operating system up into a series of smaller, independent modules. The Start Menu, for instance, is a separate module of its own so it can be easily updated independently of the rest of the operating system. Windows 10 is definitely far more complex than previous versions, but then again it’s also meant to be used for much more. Microsoft envisions Xbox Ones and its Holo Lens, as well as phones, tablets, laptops, and PCs.
This method works. Google’s massive fragmentation problem (yes, it’s a massive problem) has caused major headaches in the past, and Google did the same thing Microsoft is doing with the Windows 10. A lot of functionality was moved to Google Play Services, as were all stock apps. You might not have Android 5.1, but you still have a lot of Android 5.1’s security updates and all apps are updated with extra functionality.
What about the money?
This, for me, is the real question. How does Microsoft plan on making money? With no major product launches they can no longer sell Windows to users looking to upgrade, and the only time a user actually registers a version of Windows is when they purchase a Windows device – never again after that. Microsoft will still sell licenses to OEMs of course. But how do you charge for a service?
I envision a more interesting business model based on this service model. Microsoft already sells Office subscriptions – why not expand that to Windows? Without payment you’ve got basic Windows features and updates limited solely to important updates, but a yearly fee for Windows 10, Office 365, and OneDrive storage unlock all features and enables tight integration of the services across all devices.
What do you guys think? Yay or nay?
Source: The Verge