When Microsoft first used the term “Windows as a Service” (WAAS) on January 21st 2015 during the announcement of Windows 10, it stirred confusion. WAAS has various uses, even within Microsoft, yet it generally describes the continuous updates on the arguably last full version of Windows 10. Since then the company has continued to tweak its Windows 10 update strategy and they postponed releasing the Long-Term Service Branch of Windows 10 until 2019. But why, exactly, is this Windows 10 the “last full version” of windows, you might ask?
MICROSOFT’S STRATEGY SIMPLIFIED
Satya Nadella’s “Mobile First, Cloud First” vision is transitioning Microsoft’s industry-leading enterprise OS to follow the footsteps of the cloud’s greatest asset – Windows 10 will effectively become “Windows as a Service” (WAAS). The reasoning behind is that people and companies in particular are unwilling to pay for operational systems, as Apple and other tech companies give it out for free with their hardware. Hence, WAAS will have a one-time user-based fee but no renewal pricings. Additionally, it allows companies to use a single platform.
In 2016, Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5 customers already implemented user-based subscription options. Those including Office 365 as well as Enterprise Mobility + Security, all of which were integrated into a range of Microsoft’s enterprise cloud services.
For the rest of us, Windows 10 will for now remain slightly more than a one-time upgrade as Microsoft will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device the OS resides on. IT may recoil at the thought of upgrading all enterprise devices simultaneously, significantly disrupting operational workflow. However, Windows 10 allows Administrators to determine the speed with which certain business segments adopt the latest updates, as well as which updates are relevant to specific users. This allows businesses to test drive certain updates as they function in the broader market before deploying it to mission critical systems.
The idea here is to provide a ubiquitous experience across all Windows devices, which includes phones, tablets, and the Xbox. To further establish this one-size-fits-all experience, Windows 10 will deliver one universal application platform that feels the same across all Windows device platforms. Add to that one security model, one deployment approach, and one management platform, and Windows 10 is truly embracing simplicity without compromising scalability.
INNOVATIONS WITH WINDOWS AS A SERVICE
Microsoft also unveiled some other interesting innovations accompanying its release of Windows 10. Below are additional announcements positioned to improve the enterprise experience:
- Protection against modern threats
The always-on updates let Microsoft protect devices faster and more efficiently, while sustaining optimal cyber-security.
- Increased productivity
With an integrated virtual assistant, Microsoft helps you keep track of schedules, appointments, email, etc. Additionally, Windows 10 will increase productivity by running on PCs, smartphones and other devices, thus making it easier to collaborate.
- Innovation devices
Continuous updates also help keeping Windows Ink, Windows Mixed Reality, Security, IoT and gaming up to date. This gives users the ability to use new capabilities from the very beginning of their availability.
- Cortana will be available for the PC and tablet, previously available only on Windows Phones. Cortana will exist within all devices to be more of a companion as opposed to a voice who simply answers your questions. Over time, Cortana will provide relevant recommendations and fast access to information based on your browsing preferences, which can be controlled and limited by enabling certain advanced features.
- “Project Spartan” is the new web experience for Windows 10 that integrates with Cortana to help provide personal recommendations. Project Spartan allows users to annotate by keyboard or pen directly onto the webpage, as well as allow a “distraction-free reading view” by displaying the article on a simplified layout.
- New versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook built from the ground up to run universally across phone, tablet, and PC – all with a touch-first experience.
- Microsoft HoloLens unveiled as “the world’s first holographic computing platform.” The HoloLens is a headset that allows its user to view universal applications as a set of holograms.
- 85 inch touch-screen display for conference room collaboration.
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