What happens when you are the market leader for computer operating systems, but your latest release is a widely reviled disaster? Well the last time (Windows Vista, anyone, anyone?) Microsoft gave Vista buyers a period of time to upgrade to Windows 7 for free. It looks like the free upgrade to Windows 10 will be offered again, not just to Windows 8 and 8.1 buyers, but also to Windows 7 users. Most business networks are still running Windows 7 and avoiding Windows 8 systems, so this part of the offer is clearly directed to reluctant business upgraders.
What happened? Well Microsoft bet the farm on the new tiled “Metro” interface in an effort to offer a consistent user interface across all Internet connected devices, from desktops and laptops to tablets and phones. This was an unsuccessful attempt to become a relevant in the smartphone and tablet markets dominated by Android and Apple. And it was a dismal failure.
Their purchase of Nokia to ensure that at least one phone manufacturer offered Windows smartphones did not appreciably improve their smartphone market share. (Android 84%, iOS 12%, Windows 3%) And the Surface tablet, although technically excellent, is just too expensive for the product category, and is not selling well. So Windows 8, as a trans-platform strategic concept, unifying all devices under a common operating system and user interface, was a flop.
Windows 10 has addressed the shortcomings of Windows 8 by returning the start menu to the the taskbar. The new start menu is unfortunately littered with Metro tiles in the right hand column, but these can be resized and organized in a way that makes the collection manageable and reasonably relevant.
So in an effort to restore its yet again tarnished reputation, Microsoft is making a very generous offer. This is something that we will definitely consider as we evaluate Windows 10 preview versions. With the return of the Start Menu, and provided that Windows has not gone to far off the reservation with cloud services integration features, Windows 10 could be a significant improvement over Windows 8, and perhaps a solid replacement for the technically brilliant Windows 7.
Windows 10 is available in a preview or beta version right now. New versions are being delivered by Windows Update, which is nice, and Windows virtual personal assistant, Cortana, is on-board. This is not a ready for prime time version, and I would not suggest using this operating system on a production system. At this stage, errors are to be expected.
My only question: what happen to Windows 9?Share