Why CIOs Should Gear Up For Windows As A Service

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jul 27, 2015


Microsoft is aiming to revive its fortune with the launch of its new operating system, Windows 10, on Wednesday 29 July. The new OS to be deployed on the cloud, termed as “Windows as a service”, will offer free upgrades to users of Windows 7 and 8.1. The shift from a hard-core device company to services has been a landmark change for the tech major.

As-a-Service advantage

Needless to say, Microsoft is planning to stay relevant in a world where customers are no longer hooked to their desktops and laptops, most of which run on Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Instead devices such as smartphones, tablets and phablets are running on free operating systems like Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS,  making mobile a way of life for users.

In February 2014, when Satya Nadella succeeded the long time CEO Steve Ballmer to head the company, things started changing thereafter. With the objective to create a mobile-first-cloud-first ecosystem, Nadella has brought some radical changes in the company, pushing it steadily towards a services company.

Software companies have have already embraced ’services’ as means and nature of software distribution over time since it became practical to do so. Adobe, for instance, is all-on on its Creative Cloud model, which sees subscribers shell out a monthly fees for access to desktop programs like Photoshop and Illustrator in exchange for always having the most current version and features. Adobe makes this more attractive with a range of supporting services, including its Creative Cloud syncing file storage, believe experts. But Microsoft’s decision to fully embrace ’services’ marks a big change in the way it conceives, markets and sells its desktop OS.

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

“Windows 10 will run on any device, be it phone, tablet, PC, XBox game console, TV and every other kind of IoT devices,” says Terry Myerson, head of the company’s Operating Systems Group.  He stated in a blof that bundling Windows as a services is a strong move for Microsoft that would help them keep pace with the increasingly rapid adoption curves of new tech.

For example, even a few years ago, terms such as open source, open standards, interoperability and the cloud were alien to Microsoft. In fact, the company known for its proprietary software, like Windows OS and Microsoft Office suite, was in constant battle wiith Linux. Now Redmond Chief is talking about these technologies. At a recent Build 2015 developer conference in San Francisco last year, Nadella’s statement on “Microsoft loves Linux” was a clear indication on the changing outlook of the tech giant.

Moreover, with IoT is a rage, Microsoft’s recent statement on Windows 10 to be running on one billion devices by 2018 has made analysts wonder on what grounds such a vast figure is attainable.

Shift in sales model

It will also be interesting to observe how the sales model shifts with this change. 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 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 

Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for eligible devices for the first year after 10’s official launch, but presumably if it’s capping that it’ll still be looking to drive revenue from sales of the OS. Perhaps it could become part of a larger services bundle that expands on what Office 365 currently provides. As experts believe Windows 10 would be the “last version of Windows” after that release would follow an incremental path that would lead to ongoing improvements, instead of more occasional numbered launches and that’s indeed a sensible move.