Microsoft has released the first major update for Windows 10. Known as Version 1511 (signaling the year and month of release), the update is accompanied by new services designed to help IT departments manage the transition to the new OS. Also included are new capabilities that focus on device management, user management, and security management.
Terry Myerson, Microsoft's executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group, believes that the platform is now mature enough to recommend deployment to whole organizations. The word "platform" is an important distinction to make here, because enterprises deploying Windows 10 have more to think about than just an operating system upgrade. For most organizations, the full transition to Windows 10 will take years (especially if one takes applications into account), so Microsoft wants its customers to get started sooner rather than later.
The Windows operating system dates back thirty years, during which time almost every aspect of end-user computing has changed. Like many established enterprise IT providers, Microsoft has had to run fast and hard to catch up with recent innovations in mobile and cloud computing. Office 365 and Azure have helped propel Microsoft back to the front of the pack from a cloud perspective, but the company tripped and fell in the mobile market.
However, all is not lost on the mobile front, because Windows 10 for PCs is more like, than unlike, a modern mobile operating system. Indeed, if one connects a Windows 10 PC to Office 365, the system reports the device OS as Windows Phone. If Windows 10 gets developers building Universal Windows apps for the PC, then Windows 10 mobile devices (not just smartphones) are likely to benefit off the back of this.
Microsoft believes that a "renaissance for the enterprise PC" is in the offing, but Ovum believes that any revival is likely to be slow and steady. Microsoft's new Surface products are certainly garnering plenty of attention in the enterprise, but so too are products from the competition. New crossover devices from Apple and Google offer business users real alternatives to the Windows computer, and so the tech world moves on.
So, is Windows 10 enterprise-ready? Well, yes, it very nearly is. But right now, relatively few enterprises are ready for it. But perhaps this doesn't really matter, as most organizations weren't ready for iOS and Android either.
Analysis of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference 2015, IT0021-000099 (July 2015)
Richard Edwards, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Productivity & Mobility
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