Is Microsoft's Goal Of 1Bn Things On Windows 10 Attainable?

by Sohini Bagchi    May 04, 2015


Microsoft has recently made an ambitious statement on Windows 10 - the company’s new attempt at recapturing the interest of existing Windows 7 users and the critics of Windows 8, which saw a limited turnout. With Internet of Things (IoT) becoming a rage today, Microsoft announced Windows 10 will be running on one billion devices by 2018 at the company’s recent Build 2015 developer conference in San Francisco, leaving analysts wonder whether this ambitious move by the company is attainable.

Terry Myerson, head of the company’s Operating Systems Group however clarified that the one billion encompasses all kinds of devices that will be able to run Windows 10, which means not just PCs and laptops but also Windows Phones, Xbox consoles, Surface Hubs, HoloLens glasses and every other kind of IoT devices.

Read more: Windows 10: Is It Enterprise-Friendly?

Set to fulfil its ambition

Microsoft’s ambition reflects that the company has made upgrading to Windows 10 free for all consumers running Windows 7 and Windows 8 during the first year. This is a particularly a lucrative deal for small businesses. By giving its OS free to most of its PC and smartphone partners the tech major is making an effort to convince them to install it on their hardware.

Microsoft has also put in a lot of work into making Windows 10 more user-friendly and with lower cost of maintenance, something that has always worried CIOs. The reason Windows 8 was widely criticised was its elimination of the start button and touch-first focus that ignored keyboard and mouse. Windows 10 got all of it right this time, and what’s more it has packed several enterprise-friendly features to further tempt businesses into making the upgrade.

Read more: How Windows 10 Can Be A Boon For Businesses 

For example, Microsoft Edge that runs on any version of Windows 10 with a graphical user interface, and integration with Siri-like Cortana, among other rich features is likely to be an attractive option to enterprise users. ”We chose the name Microsoft Edge as it reflects our commitment to developers to deliver a browser that lives at the edge of modern web standards and security. Microsoft Edge is a browser built for doing,” said Myerson.

Also the Continuum can turn smartphones into PCs is one step closer to bridging the wide gap between traditional computing and mobile devices and has impressed enthusiasts. With this Universal Windows Platform, developers can create a single app that can be used across the different Windows 10-compatible devices. Each app adapts to different screen sizes, and can feature Cortana and Xbox Live integration, as well as holograms using Microsoft HoloLens.

Marc McLaren, web editor at gadget site was impressed with HoloLens. “Microsoft’s made some great strides lately towards catching up with Apple and Google, but now its more like a massive leap forward. “The most exciting stuff by far was what we saw of its virtual reality headset HoloLens and its new Windows Holographic software. We’ve seen some impressive VR demos recently from the likes of Oculus and HTC Vive but HoloLens could blow them away.

Too Big an ambition!

The Microsoft ambition continues as the tech major is attempting to bring Android and iOS Apps in Windows 10. The move is seen as a way for Microsoft to boost its popularity and persuade developers to include Windows 10 in their plans. CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber said in his blog: “The decision to embrace Android and iOS applications is an imperfect solution to an undesirable problem.  ”Nonetheless, it’s a necessary move to attract developers otherwise lost to Apple and Google.”

There were some criticisms as well. As The Register‘s Gavin Clarke points out, while Windows 10 will indeed be able to run on most devices, Microsoft is still counting on the vast majority being installed on PCs. As for Windows Phone, that’s had years to set the world alight and has done anything but. Moreover, the Xbox 360 mustered just 84 million sales worldwide during its lifespan, which makes it unlikely that Xbox One sales, that’s currently around the 10 million mark, will do much to push Windows 10’s ambitious number.

“It’s not clear how Myerson expects Microsoft to hit that number. Bloomberg didn’t push him. What is certain, however, is that you should forget the Redmond brainwashing on mobile first, on devices and on HoloLens,” he says.

Also, PC and laptop prices are set to rise by up to 10 percent in 2015, and the price hike coincides with the expected launch of Windows 10 by Microsoft.

Despite several odds, with so much plans in its basket, perhaps that one billion figure is not so unrealistic, believe tech enthusiasts. When one considers there are about 1.5 billion PCs globally currently running some version of Windows, Microsoft only needs to convince more users to upgrade to Windows 10. As we’ve seen Satya Nadella’s Microsoft loves surprising analysts and tech enthusiasts, you never know, maybe there’s more magic to happen in the days to come!