There's been much made over a comment made by Microsoft's Jerry Nixon last week at Ignite. During a session, Jerry said this…
Right now we’re releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we’re all still working on Windows 10.
This isn't exactly news (we've been talking about this for the last year or so here on WindowsITPro), but it is noteworthy in the fact that it seems to confirm what we know and Microsoft is now more comfortable with the messaging. It also leads to a different discussion and one that will surely affect organizations everywhere. In my opinion, it’s a positive change.
Windows, of course, has been Microsoft's cornerstone for building applications and creating the business ecosystem. Sure, Windows is a consumer OS, too, but consumers are generally fickle. Chromebooks had a good run in the last couple years due to being low cost devices. Linux made some strides a few years back and has embedded itself in pockets of business functions, but never really caught the consumer market by storm, except that Google's OS is based on Linux. OSX tends to be the consumer flavor of the day and almost a status symbol, and I'll argue vehemently that it's half-baked as a business OS.
Windows is a business OS and as such needs to continue to provide value to the business. Windows needs to ensure that business continues to function and operate. With Windows 10, possibly being the last major release, how could this help IT Pros?
Instead of delivering a major Windows version each 2-3 years, Microsoft will just continue to improve, protect, and enhance Windows through constant updates. At Ignite, Microsoft representatives even went as far as saying that the updates could come at a 24/7 cadence. That means that the Windows that releases this summer could look and act completely different a year from now. Instead of forcing organizations to migrate to a new OS every couple years to stay current and avoid support deadlines, IT can just open the floodgates and allow Windows to evolve. That's one value.
Another value for a constantly updating Windows is that security patches, long hated by patching administrators, will be delivered within those update streams with the hope of making Windows constantly secure. As new security threats emerge Microsoft can close the holes in Windows more quickly. At least that's the idea.
To get this to work, companies are going to have to let go a bit and trust Microsoft explicitly. And, truly this will be the toughest piece for a non-versioned Windows. IT organizations have developed massively restrictive policies around updating and securing Windows. Entire teams are employed just to manage Windows computer rollouts and patch releases. But, if everything will be delivered from Microsoft's Cloud directly to Windows devices all these things can go away – potentially. Things like WSUS and SCCM will still exist, allowing companies to intricately manage the Windows environment if they want. And, Microsoft is bringing another update management option to business with its Windows Update for Business. But, really, aren't these just lifelines, tethering Windows to the past? If we're going to move forward, let's move forward.
Yeah, Windows 10 will be the last major version of Windows. But, if IT can embrace the change, adapt, and move on, it just doesn’t matter.