The big technical/geek story of the week has to be the impending release of Windows 10.
First thing to ask is why Windows 10? Whatever happened to 9? Well apparently this is something to do with the fact that they don’t write Windows from scratch. There is a huge codebase that travels from one release to another.
This is quite understandable, given that these type of products have millions of lines of code in them; It is simply not feasible to rewrite the next release from scratch.
Anyway, the old codebase has references left over from Windows 95/98, and so that there is no confusion with the operating system version, they decided to sidestep the problem by simply naming their newest version Windows 10.
The really great news for people who have Windows 7 or 8 installed is that it is a free upgrade.
No, that is not a misprint. Free. For anyone who knows Microsoft they will realise that this is almost unheard of. Microsoft is one of the most profit oriented companies in the world.
However, Windows 8 was not well received. Well to be honest it was just about completely rejected. So in the past few iterations of Windows, we have gone from XP (a very well received operating system) to Vista (almost universally despised) to the back on track Windows 7, to the disliked Windows 8.
Clearly, Windows only gets it right every second time. Apparently the word in technical circles is that this is the one they have got right.
What is at stake for Microsoft?
Good question. I really don’t know for sure. Microsoft is still a very profitable company despite the changing computing trends – 22 billion dollars profit in 2014 – but it’s profit is coming from different things these days.
Xbox is the division that is on the rise, with a 120% rise in income for that division from 2012 to 2013. Microsoft is also moving into the cloud computing space in a big way, so services like this will keep it going strong for a time.
Add to this the fact that good or bad, most PCs come bundled with Windows, so whether it’s a dog or not you’re stuck with it.
But.. computer operating systems have been at the core of Microsoft since the company’s very beginning, starting with good old DOS. It would be a great humiliation for a company such as Microsoft to see Windows decline to be just a bit player in the computing world then eventually disappear .
So humiliating defeat is a risk if they don’t get it right.
There is a also massive potential upside. Microsoft recently bought Nokia. From memory the deal was worth 7 or 8 billion dollars.
Windows 10 is a cross platform product. That means that it can be installed on PCs, tablets and phones.
At the moment there is a great deal of consumer resistance to Windows phones. The choice of phones is generally considered to be either iPhone or and Android phone. No one wants to be caught with a product that is on the nose.
However, if Microsoft get it right, their phone division could take right off and these days phones and phablets are where it’s at.
I for one am a sucker for snazzy interfaces. The first screen shots look pretty enticing. Perhaps I could be persuaded to buy a Windows phone if it looked cool enough. Perhaps a lot of other people could too.
When can I have it?
According Microsoft “later this year”. Microsoft have form on this. “Later this year” means any time between now and 2024 in Microsoft speak.
Microsoft are in the process of releasing a technical preview. When I can get it, I’m downloading it. May as well live dangerously. Will let you know how I go.