Yesterday Microsoft released Windows 10 into the wild. Besides some minor gotchas, it appears to be the best release of any new Windows to date. The clean look and refreshed user interface is impressive even if it is channeling the spirit of Apple left and right. It is almost like 75% of the Microsoft UX designers own Apple devices.
But really…is this Windows 10 or Windows 8.3 with automatic updates? The development cadence is quicker than in the past. It is like the dev guys at Microsoft were coming up with new features for the next Windows 8 release and had a meeting with Marketing who said, “whoa hold up pocket protectors, we need to make a clean break” hence a newly branded OS was released slightly before its time. Below are the Windows release and end-of-sales dates from Microsoft’s Windows lifecycle fact sheet.
Microsoft isn’t the only company strategically building a subscription model that emphasizes “services” that you never stop paying for. Obviously much better for their profitability. This trend, that started picking up momentum over 10 years ago, has really accelerated the last 5 years with associated catch phrases like cloud.
Nothing is really ‘free’ it seems, there is always a catch. Microsoft is just providing the vehicle to lock consumers into their shiny new ecosystem, like an operating system with the ‘in-app purchases’ we often see elsewhere. The first indication is Solitaire is a paid subscription based app on Windows 10 if you want to avoid the ads. Monetizing Solitaire, really?
The ads are actually the scariest part. I don’t own a TV and I use AdBlock Plus for Chrome. I never see ads. It has been so long that when I accidentally see an ad now it’s almost traumatic. Ads built into my OS are extremely unwelcome. I would have to get a Mac, I couldn’t handle it. The new Windows 10 browser Edge does not yet have support for extensions like AdBlock Plus. That means I won’t be using Edge for anything but online Microsoft products.
Yesterday when I upgraded my home computer to Windows 10 Pro, it freaked out. After the upgrade, it restarted several times and choked each time. The screen was black with a small cursor in the upper left corner. My heart sank. Apparently there was a Faulty Nvidia driver pushed out with the final release that millions of people downloaded. I happen to have an Nvidia video card. It finally worked because Redmond was quick to patch it again but this was definitely a wrinkle in the overall smoothness.
I drank the cool aid a long time ago and I genuinely like the new direction that Microsoft has been going in the last few years…but it’s not 100% yet. While they got a lot of it right in this latest release, Microsoft appears to be continuing some of the less than popular traditions like rushing things out the door and fumbling a bit with the initial release. All that aside, I like Windows 10 so far!