Microsoft’s failure to recognize the significance of the Internet in the 90s and mobile Internet use in the 2000s left them badly behind the learning curve in those technologies. Complacent with their 92% share of OS (operating systems) for PCs, Microsoft lost the early opportunity to leverage their dominance in PCs into dominance in smart phone and tablets. Now Google and Apple share and profit from over 90% of that business while Microsoft has less than 3%. With mobile device sales still growing and PC sales not growing, Microsoft is desperately trying to find a way to capture revenue from mobile devices, applications and advertising. So far their attempts to crack the mobile markets have met with limited success. In a June 2015 shake-up, Microsoft put “Windows and Devices” under a single VP. They probably should have done it years ago. Windows 10 is their latest gambit in a strategy to regain relevance in the constantly evolving Internet mobile technology.
The most significant improvement in Microsoft’s OS s has been the upgrade to 64 bit code circa 2007. Until then, the old 32 bit OS could address only 3.2GB of memory. A 64 bit OS can address virtually any amount of RAM. In the past 15 years Microsoft’s OS have done little to change or improve the way we use our PCs.
A brief history of Microsoft’s OS since the coming of 64 bit follows. Vista (2007) was 40% slower than XP and stuffed with goofy ideas from the “propeller heads” on Vista’s development team. Win 7 (2009) was basically Vista with the goofy stuff removed. Windows 8/8.1 was basically Win 7 with the much hated “Metro” touch screen style user interface. Its unpopularity broke the previous records held by Microsoft ME and Vista. Win 10 is basically Win 8 without “Metro” (which makes it Win 7) but slimmed down so it fits on smart phones and tablets as well as PCs. In order to do that Microsoft had to dump some features like Media Center, games and a few other things that we don’t know about yet. Windows 10 will not allow you the luxury of controlling upgrades. When Microsoft changes something it will automatically install on your Win 10 PC, phone or tablet.
Win 10 is supposed to stimulate the sale of Windows branded mobile devices by giving users a seamless Microsoft OS linking all Microsoft powered devices (Xbox, smart phone, tablet and PCs). Since phone and tablet makers have had little incentive to switch from Android to Windows, Microsoft bought Nokia’s phone and tablet business in 2013 in order to have a captive manufacture of mobile devices. Another purpose for Win 10 is to stimulate the sale of “Cloud” and Microsoft “company store” apps. In theory Microsoft’s business and retail customers will be able to buy all kinds of useful and fun stuff for their phones, tablets, game boxes and PCs at the Microsoft on line “App Store.” If Microsoft succeeds in boosting its mobile presence they will also enjoy increased advertising revenue opportunities from their browsers and search engines.
Microsoft has made a very good living for decades selling OS to PC manufacturers and software to users. Now as their OS sales are in decline Microsoft must find a way to replace that lost revenue. They seek to do that through the sale of mobile devices, applications, cloud services and Internet advertising. Windows 10 is a key part of that strategy. The problem is that Win 10 has nothing new to offer Win 7 or 8 users. Microsoft will surely sweeten the pot as users continue to hold off on the free Win 10 upgrade. Our advice is to stand back and wait a few months. Don’t rush to do a potentially problematic, one way upgrade that may give you less than you already have. Let’s wait and see.