There was a surprise for industry experts and consumers from Microsoft’s recent announcements about Windows 10, its latest operating system. Specifically, Microsoft is has announced that Windows 10 will the company’s last major operating system (OS). The name itself – Windows 10 – signified a break with the past line of OSs, as no Windows 9 was ever created. Instead of releasing a new OS every couple of years (95, 98, 2000, XP, Vista, 7,8), Microsoft will instead be focusing development on creating regular updates.
These updates would likely take the form of small, free modifications which users can download over the internet, as opposed to purchasing a new physical copy of the latest OS. This move would see Microsoft follow sector trends, which have seen a huge decrease in physical media / software purchases as digital content has become the norm. This trend has obviously been led by services such as Apple istore family of programs, as well as Netflix and Spotify. Similarly, one of the first platforms to promote digital only software purchases, was Steam, the definitive leader in computer game sales: PC gaming is dominated by machines using Microsoft OS.
Windows’ users are already familiar with the Windows Update function, so it seem likely that future upgrades to Windows 10 will be implemented in a similar manner. This shift in thinking would see Microsoft mirror the actions of Apple Mac’s OS X, which also updates in the aforementioned manner. It will be interesting to see whether other Microsoft products such as the Office Suite family will be transitioned to digital only formats, with free incremental updates facilitated online.
Windows 10 is set to be released in July, and is designed to be a compatible on all Windows products, from Windows Phones, Xbox, PC and Hololens. Despite this cross-platform capabilities, Microsoft stated that the PC version will be released first, with mobile users having to wait. The new Continuum feature pays homage to this cross-platform focus. PC users of Windows 10 will be able to use the program using the traditional desktop setup, whereas mobile users will experience Windows 10 via a simplified touchscreen version. This moves seems to be a response to complaints about Microsoft’s decision in Windows 8 to move away from the traditional desktop setup, which lead to a confusing general user interface (GUI).