It's no exaggeration to say that Microsoft's future hinges on how well it can handle the transition to Windows 10. In 2015, the company delivered its first official release and its first major update. So how'd they do? I'm handing out the end-of-term grades.
If one product defined Microsoft in 2015, it was Windows 10.
After stumbling badly with Windows 8, Microsoft needed to step up with this year's big release.
They did exactly that, with at least three unprecedented moves.
- First, they made upgrades from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 free for the first year. (The only exclusions to the free upgrade policy are corporate customers with Windows Enterprise purchased through Volume License agreements.)
- Second, the new OS took shape in the open, with Microsoft releasing a rapid-fire series of preview releases to all comers, through the Windows Insider program. This isn't the first time Microsoft has done public preview releases of a new operating system, of course, but this one was noteworthy for the sheer volume of new builds that reached several million participants.
- Third, the Windows 10 development team committed to continuous updates, promising to "keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device - at no additional charge." In July, less than two weeks before the official Windows 10 release, the company updated its support lifecycle page with details.
Of course, it wouldn't be a major Microsoft release without an equally oversized serving of controversy, and Windows 10 had more than its share this year. Some of it was self-inflicted, with executives (probably at the behest of lawyers) releasing poorly written announcements that looked like they were hiding something.
But much more of it was just pure sensationalism, from a click-happy press that has perfected a mix of paranoia and technical ignorance so toxic it should have an EPA warning label.
With that as background, here's Ed Bott's
2015 report card for Windows 10...