Redmond View

Windows 10: A New 'Start' or Beginning of the End?

This month's release of Windows 10 ushers in the next era of Microsoft.

As Microsoft sets to release Windows 10 later this month, it's hard to predict whether it'll give the OS a new lease on life or just keep it chugging along for a few more years. Is Windows 10 a new beginning for the once-enduring OS, or the beginning of the end? Many fear the latter.

It appears those running older versions of Windows are destined to end up on this new release at some point -- potentially sooner than later thanks to Microsoft's aggressive push and incentives. Yet so far, there's no sign people will waver from their iPads, Android devices, Macs or Chromebooks (and other emerging platforms such as Raspberry Pi) and switch to Windows 10-based systems.

On the other hand, that's no longer necessary. Client devices have become disposable and inter­changeable commodities and there's reasonable hope Windows will remain a meaningful supplemental -- even if not dominant -- force.

Microsoft knows this but that hasn't stopped it from maintaining its "better-together" strategy with its "continuum" technology, and an OS that bridges the traditional Windows desktop -- Start menu, et al -- with new modern, touch-enabled cloud-based tablets and applications. Critics say that's too little too late -- but so far Apple can't yet boast the same ability with Mac OS and iOS, and Android, while open, is still forked. If it matters, they'll catch up.

Continuum and the Universal Windows Platform -- and now the server and cloud infra­structure Microsoft is building out to support it -- promise to make Windows 10 the best anyone could expect. If it turns out Microsoft's move to keep Windows relevant in the future isn't enough, the company -- with its strong support for iOs and Android -- has prepared itself to live with that. Have you?

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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