Microsoft: Windows 10 Will Be The Last Version

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has confirmed Windows 10 will be the last ever version of Windows. But it says that by no means is it the end for the system.

The company plans to completely ditch the idea of releasing a new version of Windows every two or three years. Instead it's going to issue more frequent updates to Windows 10.

At the moment, the updates to Windows are relatively minor. Besides the important security fixes, most updates tend to be minor fixes for usability, with very occasional new features and improvements. Any major rethinks are generally saved for a new version.

In the future, Microsoft will instead add new features and major changes as and when they are ready. While it may still keep most security fixes to a monthly bulletin (making life easier for business network administrators who need to update multiple machines), other updates will likely come more frequently but less regularly.

Windows Development Cycle Too Long

One analyst told the BBC that Microsoft had concluded the strategy of releasing new versions of Windows was no longer effective because the computing world changes so quickly. Steve Kleynhams noted that Microsoft would start off designing a new version from scratch based on current needs, but by the end of the development process when that new edition came out, it would often already be outdated. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

The official wording from Microsoft is that Windows will no longer be treated as a piece of software. Instead it will be considered an ongoing service. (Source: techcrunch.com) This is also known as SaaS, or "software as a service," where software is developed centrally and where companies often charge for software features on a subscription-based fee structure.

An example of SaaS would be cloud-based credit card processing. In this scenario credit card data is entered into a smartphone terminal or web browser, and then sent to a central server where it is processed online the Internet. The features of the card processing (and its API) are created by software developers, and in turn, sold to clients (merchants) on a monthly-based subscription fee.

System Costs Still Uncertain

The idea of "Windows as a service" has therefore prompted speculation that Microsoft is likely to consider charging an annual license fee to use Windows and keep getting updates, a strategy it already uses for business users and for the online edition of Office.

However, Microsoft has already said that if existing Windows Vista, 7 and 8 customers take advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10, they will continue to get updates for the life of the computer.

That said, it appears Microsoft is rethinking its revenue stream altogether. It will instead make its "Windows money" from two main sources: the small fee it charges manufacturers of full-sized computers to install Windows on a new machine; and the 30 percent or so commission that it takes from any app sold through the Windows Store that features prominently in Windows 8 and will appear in Windows 10.

What's Your Opinion?

Are you surprised Windows 10 will be the last ever version of Windows? Do you think frequent but smaller updates is a better strategy than a complete revamp every couple of years? Would you be happy to pay an annual license fee for Windows if Microsoft went down that route?

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Comments

gi7omy's picture

I suppose in one respect that it's not surprising that MS are trying to woo people back to their OS, given that Linux seems to have made inroads into a lot of places - the FAA, USPS, US Dept of Defense, the US submarine fleet, Munich, French Parliament, Spanish government - the list goes on (check here: http://www.comparebusinessproducts.com/fyi/50-places-linux-running-you-might-not-expect )

The problem from MS' perspective is, I suppose, not the OS but the applications. If people run Linux, then they don't run MS Office or any other Windows based program and I've a feeling that's where the real money is. Offering 'free' Windows is one way to try to regain the lost sales due to Linux and, in a lesser respect, Apple whose OS was always a lot cheaper than the MS one

kitekrazy's picture

Linux still sucks compared to OSX and Windows. There's like what maybe 8% of the planet still believes Linux is ready for prime time. I'm speaking when it comes to consumer use other than email and surfing the web. I doubt MS is concerned about losing money to Linux as it is to Apple.

guitardogg's picture

No doubt that the current release and update model for Windows is antiquated. What should the new one look like, good question. As a professional and consumer user of Windows, I want it cheap, or better yet, free! But Microsoft has to make money, so they need to come up something that keeps the OS up to date and secure, but doesn't milk us dry with annual fees, etc. I know I'm asking a lot, but I've been using Windows since 1.0 (I still have on copy on 5-1/4 floppy) so Microsoft, cut me some slack!

gaelicfog's picture

How about someone like myself who started with Windows DOS 4.01, in 1989 with a Northgate, 386/sx16, no mouse, a 3 1/2 floppy, 5 1/4 floppy, 65 mg hard drive and one mg of RAM built into the Motherboard. 14" monochrome monitor and cost $2600. I could have had basically the same thing from IBM for $5000 and Apple a mac for $7500. Upgrades started after MS DOS got to version 6.2 which double the space of the hard drive to 130 mgs. I had to get another monitor which brought me into vga color card, software started to get larger and 130 mgs was going quickly, first went to a 200 mg hard drive that became 350 mgs, then a 400mg that went to about 750mgs before I finally got into gigabytes at a 3.2 gig hard drive and also a new motherboard a 486 dx32. I believe my first Windows version was 3.1 and by then I was building my own computers, buying a basic box with a motherboard and a fan and then adding the OS processor and everything else to it. I was buying from the old Egghead Auction site which sold tons of computer parts both retail and on auction. Egghead got too ambitious and tried to expand too fast and this little operation selling books online bought out Egghead and fashion it into what we know as Amazon today. I then switched to another auction site that was dynamite from 1998 up until about 4 years ago, uBid.com. All the computers I built or bought refurbished on auction after my initial Northgate, combined they cost less than my $2600 Northgate. My current laptop an HP dv6 I got for $350 brand new in 2011 because uBid was honest enough to admit they accidently closed an auction that I held the high bid. So they they were closing their Canadian operation and gave me a good deal on the dv6. It confused the people at HP because I lived in Connecticut and the dv6 had all info for a computer to be sold in Canada.

bobskie1953's picture

will members of windows insider get the free update to full win 10

gi7omy's picture

From what MS have been saying EVERYONE running Windows 7 and 8.1 will get the free upgrade (even pirate copies)