Windows: Microsoft's power of 10

The latest version of Windows needs to mark a return to form, if the company is to hold its own on the desktop and personal devices

Windows logo

Inside the Enterprise: If Microsoft made wine, they would be a vineyard that produce award winning vintages but sometimes just plonk that is best kept for cooking.

The company's track record, when it comes to operating systems, is patchy. Windows XP was a successful vintage that has matured since its release; it is still widely used today, despite entering end of life in April 2014.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Windows 7, again, was widely regarded as a fine blend of performance, security and usability.

But surrounding these are more forgettable years. Windows Vista was flat and colourless, and failed to excite the palates of either CIOs or consumer PC buyers. Windows 8, for all its ambition and its attempt to bring together the ideas behind the desktop OS and mobile device software, has yet to make its mark. A new release Windows 8.1 is largely the same wine in a new bottle.

Windows 10, which was unveiled earlier this week, represents Microsoft's latest attempt to win over the world's PC users. Of course, most PC users still run Microsoft Windows, and Windows 10 will be installed on new PCs from next year.

The challenge for Microsoft is to convince computer users to upgrade their operating system software, or to replace struggling, older PCs with new kit. Microsoft also needs to persuade buyers to invest in desktop computers (running Windows) rather than to divert their budgets to tablets, smartphones, and other fizzy new gadgets.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

The early signs are promising. Like a Grand Cru winery, Microsoft is allowing the experts in early for tastings. In fact, the company is running its largest ever testing and evaluation programme, with end users able to download and try out Windows 10, and give the company feedback.

Already, we know the Start menu is coming back. There will be greater support for universal software applications, which can run on both conventional PCs and tablet, or hybrid, devices. The use of touch-screen interfaces will reach further into the Windows code base.

And security is being tightened. The addition of a new feature, that lets organisations segregate business and personal applications, and control the movement of data between them, is more than a nod towards the trend for Bring Your Own Device.

This could be a very powerful feature, allowing system administrators to block even simple operations such as cutting and pasting between the business and personal side of the device. As yet, rival operating systems, such as iOS and Android, have no comparable features.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Whether this is enough to persuade buyers to come back to Microsoft, and invest more in PCs or even opt for a Windows tablet or phablet instead of an Apple or Android one, remains to be seen. That is Microsoft's prize. But, for the millions of PC users out there, a better, more flexible version of Windows will be very welcome, all the same.

Microsoft will probably never tell us what happened to Windows 9, though.

Stephen Pritchard is a contributing editor at IT Pro.

Featured Resources

The case for a marketing content hub

Transform your digital marketing to deliver customer expectations

Download now

Fast, flexible and compliant e-signatures for global businesses

Be at the forefront of digital transformation with electronic signatures

Download now

Why CEOS should care about the move to SAP S/4HANA

And how they can accelerate business value

Download now

IT faces new security challenges in the wake of COVID-19

Beat the crisis by learning how to secure your network

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/operating-systems/28288/how-to-factory-reset-windows-10
operating systems

How to factory reset Windows 10

4 Mar 2020
Visit/software/linux/355769/linux-gui-apps-coming-to-windows-10
Linux

Linux GUI apps coming to Windows 10

22 May 2020
Visit/software/development/355748/the-it-pro-podcast-microsoft-build-goes-virtual
Development

The IT Pro Podcast: Microsoft Build goes virtual

22 May 2020
Visit/technology/artificial-intelligence-ai/355744/microsoft-in-collaboration-with-openai-unveils-ai
artificial intelligence (AI)

Microsoft, in collaboration with OpenAI, unveils AI supercomputer

21 May 2020

Most Popular

Visit/infrastructure/server-storage/355785/dell-emc-poweredge-r7525-review-an-epyc-core-density-to-make
Server & storage

Dell EMC PowerEdge R7525 review: An EPYC core density to make Intel weep

26 May 2020
Visit/infrastructure/network-internet/355792/intel-releases-wi-fi-and-bluetooth-driver-updates-for
Network & Internet

Intel releases Wi-Fi and Bluetooth driver updates for Windows 10

26 May 2020
Visit/operating-systems/microsoft-windows/355781/microsoft-confirms-further-issues-with-troublesome
Microsoft Windows

Microsoft's latest Windows 10 update is causing yet more issues

26 May 2020