I know it will shock many that I am looking at the launch of Windows 10S in a different light. I am going to start with my conclusion and go from there. Windows 10S is about finding a different way to keep Windows revenue afloat while they continue to evolve into the Azure and Office company.
A few points:
- The first selling point from Microsoft is that devices with 10S in a managed environment like a classroom is safer thanks to it being so locked down. One of the items they mentioned is Microsoft Intune. Reality check, if you are using Intune you already have the other tools as an administrator to lock down systems to do pretty much what S offers.
- Another benefit they mentioned is the security of using just apps bought through the Windows Store. Now there is some truth there, however in the next sentence they talk about how easy it is to package your standard Win32 apps and throw them in the store. Many security experts who I trust have made the point that using Microsoft’s Project Centennial (how you package those old desktop apps for the new world) tarnishes many of the security benefits.
- Windows 10S locks Windows Edge as your default browser and Bing as your default search engine.
While Microsoft said that other browsers are welcome in the store, you will not be able to change either of those defaults.
- UPDATE: May 10, 2017 Ed Bott at ZNDET has been told that the original consensus from the press that Google and others could just package their browsers and put them in the store was wrong.
Now with those points in mind, Windows 10S is about one thing and one thing only.
- Outside of security, what else does the Windows Store do? Like the App store on iOS and the Google Play store on Android it allows Microsoft to take a 30% cut off the sale of your app.
- Having Edge and more importantly Bing as your default does what? It makes Microsoft money. Like Google, Microsoft monetizes the data used in search and other things. Unlike Google they do not have that marketshare.
- Microsoft offers OEMs steep discounts on lower end PCs. So now you put Windows 10S on those devices allowing Microsoft to make up some of the lost revenue with forcing you into the store and to use Bing.
Here is the real kicker. Microsoft is allowing you a very easy way to change that Windows 10S install into a full version. Just hand over $50. So Microsoft is setting up a system where you either make them money by using the store and Bing, or you can just hand over the $50 making up for the future lost revenue. This is what some would call the “freemium” model just taken to the OS.