Microsoft has been fairly aggressive in getting people to upgrade to Windows 10 and then update the platform. From forced updates to laying it on thick in terms of end-of-support warnings, the company's strategy has actually worked. While Windows 10 has grown consistently, the company is now toning down its update pattern after businesses complained.
Windows 10 is updated differently to previous versions of the platform. Microsoft now issues two annual updates (like feature upgrades) which come with new tools and features. These are the releases that have been running under the Redstone moniker while in development (Creators Update, Fall Creators Update, and so on).
In between those twice-yearly updates, Microsoft sends out monthly cumulative releases. Typically rolled out on Patch Tuesday's these updates fix known issues in the platform and patch security problems.
Windows as a service has been a success for Microsoft. The platform is steadily increasing market share and with Windows 7 support ending in less than two years, a boom of upgrades are expected. With more businesses jumping on board, Microsoft is listening to existing Win10 organizations and slowing down updates.
Of course, the company will not be going back to its previous three-year Windows lifecycle when users had to wait that long for new features. Instead, Microsoft says it is now giving IT admins more time to prepare their systems for updates.
“You've been talking, and we've been listening,” says Jared Spataro, corporate vice president of Microsoft 365. “We recognize that it takes time to both upgrade devices and operationalize new update processes. Today's announcements are designed to respond to your feedback and make it easier, faster, and cheaper to deploy a modern desktop.”
The core of the change is an extension of the current support policy. Windows 10 versions are currently supported for 18 months. This means companies have this long to update before they lose feature, security, and performance support. Microsoft is now extending this to 30 months for Win10 Enterprise and Education.
There is a caveat, however. Microsoft says feature updates will have a split support timeframe. October updates will come with 30-month support, while March updates will be supported for the current 18 months. It seems illogical, but the company says this method will maintain flexibility and give customers who want to stay current the ability to do so.