Windows 10: Why Microsoft Is Giving It Away for Free

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

As Windows 10 launches, Microsoft pushes for enterprise adoption.

As the world awaits the Wednesday launch of Windows 10 operating system by Microsoft, with which its Indian-born chief executive Satya Nadella wants to power a billion devices in a few years, its potential efficacy in India has evoked mixed response among analysts.He planned to hang out at the store all day for its kickoff events, which included free workshops, giveaways and a meet-and-greet with former Dallas Cowboys player Deion Sanders.Jim Alkove, corporate vice president for enterprise and security in Microsoft’s Windows and Devices group, said the release provides a number of important new features for enterprise IT departments.

While some feel it may not be a super hit, despite a free update for those with versions above Windows 7, others say it will prove more of use on devices other than personal computers, like smartphones, tablets and other handhelds. But this time things are different, because this is “the last version of Windows.” As the Verge reported in May, Microsoft developers started talking about a fundamental shift in Windows at the company’s Ignite conference. Microsoft went wrong with Windows 8/8.1, and the all-new Windows 10 shows how the company gracefully accepted the mistake and made the right amendments. The tech giant on Wednesday rolled out the newest version of its popular operating system for PCs and tablets — the first full update in nearly three years. Following a hostile reception to Windows 8 in 2012, which was only placated in small part by the Windows 8.1 update in 2013, Microsoft is hoping that Windows 10 can help it regain favour among its 1.5 billion daily users.

In particular, Windows 10 includes management tools that can automatically configure new devices, along with important security improvements that will help protect businesses from attack. Instead of the periodic large releases of big-name operating systems, Microsoft wanted to make Windows 10 a streamlined, device-agnostic platform that could be reinvented whenever and however the company wanted on any given day. Windows 10’s protections include features like Device Guard, which lets businesses lock devices down to only run applications from trusted developers they choose. Nevertheless, Windows 10 will also help those with pirated versions of Microsoft operating systems to migrate to an authentic version, making room for a wide range of applications to choose from. “At the enterprise level, adoption will vary.

CEO Satya Nadella told BBC News on Wednesday that, “It’s not just another release of Windows, it’s the beginning of a new era.” In the new Windows world everything is seamless and infinite. One of the things that people hated about Windows 8 was the feeling that they were constantly being pushed to use “live tiles”, which were designed for touch-based computing, even when they were using a traditional desktop set-up with a keyboard and mouse. In a statement about Windows 10 on Tuesday, Microsoft said, “Windows 10 is delivered as a service and kept automatically up-to-date with innovations and security updates.” It’s a mental shift from thinking of operating systems as individual releases to thinking of them as boundless platforms. This version of the system addresses the growing use of touch-screen tablets and products with detachable keyboards by allowing the device to go back and forth between different modes. This was replaced in Windows 8.1 with a Start button in the bottom left hand corner of the screen, but rather than opening up a navigation menu, it launched the tile-based touch user interface that most people were trying to escape.

It also brought back the traditional start menu, which proved to be a crowd-pleaser, complete with up-to-date news and weather, as well as a pull-out notification center. To start with, Microsoft began meeting with its business customers under the cover of non-disclosure agreements in January 2014, which helped shape Windows 10’s eventual release roughly a year and a half later. It is also about security, compatibility and manageability,” said Vishal Tripathi, research director at Gartner India. “Organisations use legacy- and custom-based applications than regular plug-and-play software. When you open up the new Start menu, there is a panel of live tiles on the right, where people can “pin” their favourite apps, but there is also a traditional Windows 7-style Start menu on the left, that allows users to sort through all of their files, apps and settings systematically.

The transition process should be easier than migrating computers from Windows XP to Windows 7, in part because of lessons Microsoft learned from that transition, Alkove said. To begin with, the Start Menu that users love is back. “Microsoft is keeping the Live Tiles it introduced in Windows 8, but it’s put them inside the Start menu. Gartner analyst Steve Kleynhans said in a report that barring errors with security tools, “most organizations will find compatibility issues will be minimal and some may see no substantial compatibility issues.” Selling products to enterprise customers is big business for Microsoft—commercial licensing (including Windows, Windows Server, Office and other products) brought in more than US$41 billion during the company’s just-completed fiscal year, which is almost 44 percent of its total sales. Roy, a noted technology writer and chief editor of Trivone, a media and digital services company, Windows is an overhaul of the previous version that had flopped.

While Microsoft is encouraging enterprises to get a move on when it comes to evaluating the new operating system, analysts think it will take time for businesses to migrate their systems to the new operating system. But getting enterprises to upgrade to it will be near-impossible. “This apart, PC sales are also weak and Windows users don’t upgrade the way Mac OS users (or iOS users) do when a new OS is launched. The former computer programmer has been using Microsoft products since he bought his first IBM computer in 1983. “I trust that they’ll fix any small issues that users have,” Caraway said. “The flaws are a pain right now, but they are all very minor. The advantage of having them, of course, is that if you’re using a convertible device that operates in both desktop and tablet mode, then applications downloaded from the Windows Store will automatically adjust themselves to suit the mode, making switching between the keyboard and touch interface feel seamless. However, it still needs some fixes. ” Unlike Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge isn’t stable – the browser crashes pretty often, and you’ll see that the browser freezes every now and then.

So if you’re working on an Office Word document at your desk and then have to go and catch a train, you can switch to tablet mode and carry on working on the same document in touchscreen mode as soon as you get a seat. IDC analyst Al Gillen said he expects many small businesses to upgrade within the first year to take advantage of Microsoft’s free upgrade offer for Windows 10 Pro, while large organizations will probably wait a year or more to roll out the operating system. Another analyst, Kiran Kumar of IDC, said India has an installed base of 55-60 million personal computers, out of which some 55 percent are with individual consumers while the remaining are with businesses and institutions. “An increase of even 1.5-2 percent in PC volumes will mean around 10 million additional volumes.

Predictable fixed duration development periods allow us to determine how much work we can do in a fixed amount of time, and makes schedule communication simple. We basically wanted to operate more like trains leaving Grand Central Station (regularly scheduled and always on time), and less like taxis leaving the Bronx (ad hoc and unpredictable). Given that Windows 7 is now six years old, the software inevitably feels a bit clunky, but it is really noticeable that programs start faster and run faster in Windows 10, and the whole system feels more slick. Incremental updates serve Windows 10’s goal of being a universal operating system and offering “one experience” across PCs, tablets, phones, Raspberry Pi, Xbox One, and HoloLens (plus the 2,000 devices Microsoft says it’s testing for compatability). Instead of expecting normal users to know they could just start typing anywhere on their home screens to search, Microsoft has provided Cortana as a visual cue.

It feels more like the Google Chrome browser, with a light, stripped-back user interface and a simple set of tools along the top, under the search bar. For example, “favourites” lets you bookmark a page and cache it for reading offline, “web note” lets you annotate live pages and then save a screenshot of the page, and “share page” lets you send a link to friends via email or social network. If nothing else, streamlining the update process makes devices more secure, because they automatically get their patches and bug fixes instead of relying on users to initiate a download. But by clicking on a “My Stuff” tab that pops up at the bottom of the Cortana pane once a user starts typing a query, users can refine their results to local or Web,” Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet writes. “Her desktop incarnation isn’t tremendously different. Read mode is also great for people who like to read long articles online, allowing you to strip out all the ads, and sidebars, pop-ups and links, and scroll through a single column of text and pictures.

The tension between the desire for agility versus stability poses a huge challenge for IT Pros,” Microsoft said. “The new Windows must be built from the ground-up for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. The pressing question, then, will be whether Microsoft can deliver significant innovations and redesigns without affecting Windows’ daily performance.

Windows 10 is culling usage statistics to suggest times for automatic restarts (so updates can take effect), and presumably many updates will happen behind the scenes without requiring a restart at all. But Microsoft will need a way to generate excitement about new features as they come out, work carefully to avoid pushing out flawed updates, and generally keep users informed. If you give Cortana access to your email and calendar clients, for example, it can start to act more like a real personal assistant, extracting relevant information and proactively offering information.

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