Windows users will probably have already noticed pop up boxes appearing in the bottom right hand of their desktop announcing the impending arrival of Windows 10. Some may have even taken up Microsoft’s offer of a free upgrade to the new OS for users with Windows 7 or above. When Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 back in January this year the crowd was wowed and the industry community sat up and took notice. Here was an operating system with a difference, that promised to make our lives better, that sat up and took notice of us and our needs. Déjà vu? You bet it was. The same fervour was witnessed when Windows 8 was launched, promising to be a true generation definer for the Mobile and Desktop world. Only it wasn’t, was it? It’s not that Windows 8 was bad per se, it was just that it was so inherently flawed and un-user friendly that Windows 9 just upped and left never to be seen again* (*Okay, not strictly true, but the general consensus is that Windows 8 suffered so much that an almighty leap was needed to separate the next Windows OS from its predecessor). So Windows 10 was born.
If you feel that was a long-winded introduction, it was but it was warranted. For the first time in a while Microsoft is, if not against the ropes, certainly showing signs of wobbling. Windows 10 has become significant, very significant for the tech giant which wants to re-gain its momentum in the industry. Which means it is significant for us. So what is all the fuss with Windows 10, and is it worth it? Let’s find out.
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 – The Big Launch
On Monday pre-subscribers got the news that they’d been waiting for, that Wednesday was the day for the big download. We will look at the biggest features of Windows 10 that will be available from launch and what these features could mean for business and enterprise users.
UX – While not exactly a feature, Microsoft has learnt its lessons from the mistakes of Windows 8. User Experience, especially in terms of enterprise users was at the forefront thinking behind Windows 10 development. Back in September last year when the technical preview of Windows 10 was available Jim Alkove, the head of the Windows 10 management team, was keen to state in his blog that “Windows 10 will be our greatest platform ever for organizations and their employees,” and highlighted how important businesses would be during the technical development stage of Windows 10. This was significant because it was a rarity for Microsoft, opening up to the community. It wasn’t quite an admission of ‘we got it wrong’ but it was close enough. And, sure enough, the initial prognosis was that it looks slick and simple enough for businesses to use.
Cortana – Windows Phone users will already be familiar with Cortana. Let’s start that again, Windows Phone users will be aware of the existence of Cortana, the speech activated, personal assistant/search software built in to phones. The reason why users will be only aware of Cortana’s existence rather than familiar with the application is because it, or she, to be more proper is seldom used. This is scheduled to change with Windows 10 with Cortana expected to play a big part of organising your desktop. Seen the film Her? Perhaps not to this extent but the idea is there, Cortana will help get you organised, and not only this she will learn how you work, and she will work across platforms. In theory then Cortana for Windows 10 gets the thumbs up and should help to streamline office work.
Universal Apps – This is something that has been long overdue from Microsoft, the acknowledgement that business work isn’t always done in an office in front of a large desktop. Universal Apps will allow you to work on a Word or Excel document, as well as other Microsoft Apps like PowerPoint and OneNote on all Windows 10 platforms in a free and optimised manner. This means you could start a project on one device and finish it on another, or add some notes for that morning’s meetings on your phone and pick them up on your laptop ready to add into your presentation. The possibilities for business and the fluidity for business make this one of the best Windows 10 features from launch.
Edge – If it isn’t broke don’t fix it. So goes the old adage. So why then have Microsoft decided to abandon Internet Explorer for the new Edge browser? Again, the keyword is optimisation. Edge does things that IE cannot do, the chance to annotate a webpage and share it with colleagues for instance is something that will come in handy in terms of workflow management. Sure, they could have called it IE11 and that would have been fine, but we do like that Microsoft have tried and appear committed to doing things differently and for the benefit of business. The verdict is still out on the browser as not enough businesses have engaged with it yet but the initial noises at least are positive.
Conclusion: Is Windows 10 for business worth it?
The initial answer, you would have to say, is yes. Microsoft appears to have gotten this one right. The fact that they are backing Windows 10 so much also shows that they should be committed to change if issues arise with the platform during the initial launch stage. This, of course, is an issue for businesses who need it to work right from the beginning despite Microsoft’s promise of the ‘zero’ learning curve.
So, while on the face of it Windows 10 does seem like it will be good for enterprise users, certainly the free upgrade is enticing. We will report again once there has been some early adopter feedback but the initial prognosis at least is good. Microsoft seems determined to win back business users which, for businesses, can only be a good thing.