Windows 10's launch is less than six weeks away, but questions — lots of questions — still remain about the new operating system, from when it will be taken to the bosom of enterprise to whether some of Microsoft's moves leading up to it were premeditated.
Computerworld spoke to one of Gartner's resident Microsoft experts, Steve Kleynhans, posing 10 questions about Windows 10, to get some answers. Kleynhans' responses were lightly edited for length.
Will Windows 10 beat Windows 7's first-year adoption rate, which stood at 22% of all Windows PCs at the end of 12 months? "It is quite likely that Windows 10 will beat Windows 7's adoption in the first year due to three factors," said Kleynhans. "First, the free upgrade will probably be taken by a relatively healthy portion of the population. Second, more users have automatic updates enabled today than six years ago. And third, compatibility between Windows 7 and Windows 10 is significantly better than between Windows XP and Windows 7. There will be a lot fewer blockers to get in the way.
"Enterprise adoption isn't likely to be significantly better in the first year. However, enterprises will move more quickly to Windows 10 than Windows 7 and there will be a few motivated to move a bit earlier if only because of the one-year free upgrade deadline. There are fewer barriers to moving with Windows 10, including in-place upgrades and no new Internet Explorer [IE] version to wrestle with, so while enterprises will take a bit longer than consumers to get started, both should be a lot higher with Windows 10."
When will enterprises begin adopting Windows 10 in force? "Companies never do anything quickly, so aside from some aggressive early adopters, most organizations will use 2016 as a time to study the new OS and potentially run some pilots," Kleynhans said. "Real roll-outs might start in late 2016, but are more likely to really kick off in 2017."
What's Windows 10's biggest draw for enterprises? "Two things: security and lighter-weight management," said Kleynhans. "There are a number of security enhancements, from biometric log-ins to hardware-enabled protection for parts of the OS, that will be compelling to enterprises.
"Similarly, the ability to use a store for provisioning users, enabling a self-service model, and potentially opening options for BYOD will be attractive.
"In the short term most companies are looking at Windows 10 as providing them access to 2-in-1 devices that users find intriguing, without having to figure out Windows 8 or deal with some of its enterprise shortcomings. But regardless of any goodness in the product, the biggest driver will ultimately be Windows 7's end-of-life."
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