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Windows 10 'Best Enterprise Release' Arriving Fall 2015

Microsoft plans to release Windows 10 by "late summer" or "early fall" 2015.

Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer, provided that roadmap update on Thursday. Turner, who spoke at the Credit Suisse Technology Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., added that a "developer preview" of Windows 10 will be available in early summer of 2015.

Microsoft also plans to talk about the "end-user consumer experiences" of Windows 10 "in the early spring" of that year, Turner added.

Veteran Microsoft observer Mary Jo Foley has described a preview of consumer version of Windows 10 that's purportedly in the works at Microsoft. Possibly, this operating system version may get discussed during a Microsoft press event, which is scheduled take place from Jan. 20 to 21, 2015. Those dates don't seem to correspond with Turner's "early spring" estimate, though.

Productivity and Platform Company
Speaking to a crowd of financial analysts, Turner emphasized that Microsoft now considers itself to be a "productivity and platform" company focused on a "mobile-first, cloud-first world." While the 39-year-old company had cut its teeth and grew to its current size based on its Windows platform, the Windows segment now constitutes the third largest money generator for Microsoft, behind its Office and its enterprise software operations.

Turner described Microsoft's Office business as a $20 billion franchise. Microsoft has signed up more than 7 million users of its Office 365 for Home service, he said.

Turner described Microsoft's commercial cloud business as having a run rate of more than $4.4 billion. Office 365, Microsoft Azure and Dynamics CRM Online are driving Microsoft's commercial cloud business segment, he added. Value-added services are being used by "60 percent of the customers we've got on Azure," Turner added.

Turner also touted Microsoft's work in the "first-party hardware space" with its Surface tablet-PC devices. Microsoft sees a role for its OEM hardware partners, too, he explained. Microsoft's intent in building its Surface hardware products was to "push our OEMs and others to innovate faster," he said, according to Microsoft's transcript.

Windows 10 Vision
Microsoft is taking four of its Windows internal development efforts and aiming to produce a single operating system in Windows 10 that will work across various devices. In the past, Microsoft's OS development efforts were focused on embedded devices, mobile devices, laptops/desktops and Xbox, but Microsoft now aims to produce a common Windows 10 OS kernel with one API for developers, Turner explained. It will provide "one platform for drivers and apps."

The Windows 10 platform also will enable Microsoft to create a single Windows store for apps "tailored to every device." Microsoft has previously described some of the management aspects that will be available with a Windows Store that's built for Windows 10. It has also previously described Windows 10 as an eventual replacement for its Windows Phone mobile OS.

Turner described the coming Windows 10 OS as being "the best enterprise release we've ever done." He added that it will have the best of Windows 7's features, along with security, privacy and data protection enhancements. Microsoft's goal is to have Windows 10 "run across billions of devices," including tapping into the "Internet of things."

When asked during the event if Microsoft were prepared to lose money on the Windows client operating system, Turner said, "Yes," but he added that Microsoft now plans to monetize Windows in a different way by selling additional services. He said that particular business model would get explained further in the spring and summer of 2015. He rejected the characterization of Windows as a "loss leader" for the company.

Microsoft currently provides Windows without royalties to OEMs building devices that are nine inches or below in size. Turner said that this royalty-free arrangement has generated an increase in OEM device designs from Chinese manufacturers.

Zero-royalty on nine-inch and below devices; the very week, ladies and gentlemen, that we announced this change in Shenzhen where roughly 80 to 85 percent of the world's consumer electronics is created we saw 36 design wins in addition, over week-over-week, when we made this single change. And we've seen that momentum continue to accelerate.

OEMs are now turning out $99 Windows tablets and $200 Windows laptops, he added. These low-cost devices will allow Microsoft to "monetize the lifetime of that customer through services and different add-ons," he added.

Examples of services that will allow Microsoft to "monetize the lifetime" of its customers include OneDrive, Yammer and SharePoint Online, Turner explained.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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