Microsoft executive Jerry Nixon confirmed at the company’s Ignite conference last week that the upcoming Windows 10 update will be the company’s last version of Windows. That doesn’t mean Windows is going away — far from it.
The reality is that Windows 10, which is expected to be the last of the traditional big bang launches, is likely to complete Microsoft’s transition from a software licensing model to a cloud computing one.
Windows 10 will be built around continual upgrades and stable releases on a schedule. There won’t be a Windows 11, 12 and 13, but the platform will evolve over time. In theory, enterprises will be able to consume innovation easier. For Microsoft, enterprise customers will become subscribers.
It’s hard to argue that Microsoft isn’t a cloud company now. Azure, Office 365 and key enterprise apps are delivered as a service. Windows is the last big chunk left under an enterprise licensing model.
Microsoft didn’t outline pricing for Windows 10, but rest assured that there will be a software-as-a-service cadence to it. Consider the following:
- For consumers, Windows 10 will have monthly updates with subscriptions similar to Office 365. Businesses will have an option to skip monthly updates.
- Enterprise users will likely get Windows 10 updates quarterly or every six months. The standard for SaaS vendors is twice a year updates with releases coming with features that aren’t activated. This schedule would enable enterprises to validate the updates.
- Some enterprises may choose to roll out updates every two years, but still pay subscriptions over a term.