NEWS ANALYSIS: The next version of Microsoft Windows will be available in six versions, half of which are specifically aimed at business users.
The wait for Windows 10 is almost over. According to a Microsoft spokesperson, “Windows 10 will be made available later this summer.” Unfortunately, I was unable to convince the spokesperson to be more specific, so that means the big update will happen before Sept. 23, since that’s the first day of autumn. If I were a betting man, I would bet on the last half of August or the first few days of September.
But in reality, the specific day hardly matters. What does matter is that Microsoft appears to be working hard to make Windows 10 palatable to business users of all sizes. This is different from the release of Windows 8, which was optimized for touch screens but which left longtime keyboard-and-mouse users out in the cold.
A key indication of the seriousness with which Microsoft is approaching Windows 10 for business can be seen in the company’s description of the six different editions that are being released, with three of them—Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise—designed for different classes of business users. Microsoft is also releasing editions of Windows 10 for education, home and mobile use.
Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Windows and Search Marketing Tony Prophet said in a blog entry that there will be versions of Windows for ATMs, point-of-sale devices, handheld terminals and industrial robotics, as well as a version called Windows IoT Core for devices such as gateways and others that will run on the Internet of things.
The good news for users of Windows 10 Pro, which Microsoft aims at smaller businesses and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) customers, is the update to Windows 10 will be free. While Microsoft hasn’t said exactly how it will happen, Prophet did say that it’s being delivered as a service, which probably means that all updates, including major updates, will be delivered online.
This probably means that current users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will be able to move to Windows 10 in much the same way that they invoke Windows Update.
It’s important to note that Windows Update is going to be fundamentally changed for business users with the launch of Windows 10. The new version of Windows Update for Business is designed to give companies much more control over where, when and how updates are applied.
IT managers will be able to designate computers that will get updates first. They can also control what computers should not be interrupted by updates until management decides to do so as well as set times when updates should take place.
In addition, Microsoft has added a new set of security features to business versions of Windows, including something called “Device Guard,” which can be set so that only trusted applications are allowed to run.