The magnitude of everything Microsoft announced today at the Windows 10 is hard to capture in one post. So I’m not going to even try. But there is one thing that stuck out almost immediately in the event. Windows is no longer just a Operating System. It is a Service. And as a service, the scope and depth of the platform took on new meaning for developers, enterprises and customers alike. This is a huge turn for Microsoft as a company.
The first and most fundamental aspect of this shift to Windows 10 being a service starts with the pricing model. For the first time, users will be able to upgrade from one version of Windows to another for free. If you are running Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1, the first year that Windows 10 is available, the upgrade is free. The goal for Microsoft is simple: Get as many as their 1.5 billion Windows users upgraded to the latest and greatest so they can push out the new services and apps. It also solves a monumental headache for Redmond in that they can more quickly retire support for old versions of Windows which plague them. This will not be an overnight upgrade move by businesses or consumers. However the excuse not to upgrade because of cost is eliminated.
Second, Windows 10 for your smartphone is simply an extension service. The gulf between functionality on the mobile device and the desktop is disappearing and this can only be done by treating the underlying platform as a service. It allows Microsoft (and developers) to develop universal apps for all devices. Code once, done on all devices. Be clear peeps: You can NOT do this on iOS and OS X from Apple. This could prove to be the single biggest advancement in Windows for developers in a long, long time. Oh, and those universal apps? They will work on Xbox One too.
Finally, start layering all the Internet of Things elements and other connected devices. Microsoft is bringing holographic computing with HoloLens, Cortana to the desktop (and much improved), the Microsoft Band continues to take near quantum leaps with each update… It all adds up to a holistic, refined and dare I say bold vision for the future from Microsoft. The key of course is getting these devices and applications talking and that is where the developer community will be critical to the success of Windows 10.
This really is the only limit to the potential of this new service, formerly known as the Operating System.
Microsoft got their mojo back. Big time.