Back last year, Microsoft launched Windows 10 S, a lighter version of the regular Windows 10 SKU. Designed mostly for the education users, the version was a direct response to Google’s ChromeOS. However, Microsoft has kicked off February by making a significant change to Windows 10 S.
When it launched, Windows 10 S was a separate SKU from other Windows variants. That means it sat separately from Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, and Windows 10 Enterprise. Although, you may remember Microsoft has been offering a free upgrade path to Win10 S to Win10 Pro.
Microsoft has decided to kill off Windows 10 S as an individual SKU. Instead, the company is making the build into a platform that will run on top of existing SKUs. The obvious reason for this decision is to get Win10 S into as many machines as possible.
Reports suggest machines with the S mode enabled will come with an option to disable it or not. This SKU flexibility will be available for free on Windows 10 Home versions, but will cost $49 to switch off Windows 10 S on the Win 10 Pro SKU.
As for Win10 S itself, the platform will not be changing at all. Whether this is a good decisions remains to be seen, but it was clear from the start Windows 10 S was not a good fit for Microsoft. The company sold it as a complete Windows SKU with a lighter touch, but it was also upgradeable to other versions.
The Win10 S platform will retain its more streamlined and secure approach. Microsoft insists people do want to use Windows 10 S. The company says 60% of people with Win10 S devices stick with the software and didn’t upgrade to Win10 Pro. That’s a solid number that shows there is a market for the platform.
Forgetting Chrome Rivalry?
OEMs have been pushing Microsoft’s streamlined education-focused Windows by releasing affordable devices. How the future of such products will be affected remains to be seen. Let’s remember, Microsoft wants Windows 10 S to compete with ChromeOS and Chromebooks.
Google’s platform focuses on offering a light experience, but is limited by always needing a connection. Windows 10 S is different, it works like a lighter version of Windows 10 that can work offline and run traditional desktop apps.
What will happen to this concept remains to be seen. Win10 S will live on, but will it now simply be lost in the mix?