At a Microsoft Windows press event in San Francisco this morning, Microsoft Windows executive vice president of the operating system group Terry Myerson took to the stage to tell journalists in attendance that the next version of Microsoft Windows — which has up until now been informally referred to as Windows 9 — would be officially named Windows 10 when it launches in the spring of 2015.
In a statement announcing the unveiling of Windows 10, Myerson put the focus on Windows 10 as a solution for business customers, a nod to the distaste many IT managers had for Windows 8. “This will be our most comprehensive operating system and the best release Microsoft has ever done for our business customers,” Myerson said. “…and we look forward to working together with our broader Windows community to bring Windows 10 to life in the months ahead.”
We’re covering the Windows 10 announcement today from a number of different angles. In addition to this post, my colleague Blair Greenwood will be covering all the Windows 10 development and DevOps-related news that Microsoft touched on today. Petri IT Knowledgebase Contributing Editor Aidan Finn provides a veteran IT professional’s take on Windows 10 as well.
So other than the curious decision to skip Windows 9 and name the latest Windows client OS Windows 10, what were some of the highlights of the Microsoft announcement? Let’s get some of the basic details out of the way first.
Q: Why did Microsoft pick the Windows 10 name over Windows 9?
A: Good question. Because they liked the movie Ten? Or they wanted to eventually turn Windows up to 11, but they had to go to 10 first? Or Microsoft has a serious case of Apple Mac OS X envy? Your guess is as good as mine.
Q: When will the Windows 10 technical preview be released?
A: Microsoft Windows OS Chief Terry Myerson said that the Windows 10 technical preview will be available on October 1st as part of the new Windows Insider Program, which I’ll explain next.
Q: What is the Windows Insider Program?
A: The Windows Insider Program is a new initiative where Microsoft will be letting “PC experts and IT Pros” get access to a pre-release, technical preview of Windows 10. can get access to a technical preview of Windows 10 for desktops and laptops. In a post on the Blogging Windows blog, Myerson writes that “With the Insider program, we’re inviting our most enthusiastic Windows customers to shape Windows 10 with us. We know they’re a vocal bunch – and we’re looking forward to hearing from them.”
Q: When will Windows 10 hit RTM?
A: Microsoft hasn’t officially mentioned a formal release date yet, but ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley is reporting that Windows 10 will see a mid-2015 final release.
Q: Were any new features announced today?
A: Many of the most eagerly-awaited new features of Windows 10 — including the Windows start menu, multiple desktops, the new notification center, windowed ‘Metro’/Modern apps on the desktop, and more — we already knew about thanks to some leaked screenshots and video clips of an early Windows 10 technical preview build in action a few weeks ago. A new snap assist feature allows windows and apps to more easily be arranged on a screen, and Microsoft has obviously worked hard to file down the rough edges of the OS for desktop and keyboard users. A revamped task view option looks like it will also make viewing things easier for traditional desktop users. We’ll be posting more about new features in Windows 10 once the technical preview build becomes available.
Q: What will Windows 10 cost?
A: Microsoft didn’t release any Windows 10 pricing info yet, but the conventional wisdom (and some recent reporting by a number of tech journalists) have revealed that the Windows 10 upgrade will likely be a free one for some users. I’d personally doubt that Microsoft would make Windows 9 a free upgrade for their largest corporate clients, but after the Windows 8 debacle I’m sure a free upgrade would work wonders towards helping many IT departments finally dump Windows 7 and upgrade to Windows 10.
Q: What about the next revisions of Windows Server, aka Windows 10 Server?
A: I’ve personally heard from more than one source at Microsoft that Microsoft will likely be talking about the next updates to Windows Server and System Center / Windows Intune at TechEd Europe in Barcelona in late October, and Myerson alludes to that in his aforementioned blog post: “Soon after, we’ll also be releasing technical previews of Windows Server and our management tools.”
So what do you think of Microsoft’s decision to skip past Windows 9 on their way to Windows 10? I’d love to hear what you think, so please drop me an email with your thoughts, add a comment to this blog post, or contact me on Twitter or Google+. You can also catch up on my posts in the Petri IT Knowledgebase forums.