Opinion: Windows-as-a-Service could lift Microsoft's curse
Microsoft is cursed. It's a well-known industry joke that "every other" release of Windows hits the sweet spot. Just think; Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8... Which of these releases were happily-adopted by consumers? Or in the case of Windows 8, adopted at all?
At the end of this month Microsoft is set to release a preview version of the next version of Windows. Some people are calling it Windows 9, others are just calling it Windows. The reason for this is Microsoft is likely to turn their core product into following a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model like Office 365.
This would mean instead of big annual releases; updates will be pushed to add new features or fix user issues when necessary. It marks a big industry shift that others are following - such as Adobe - as it allows companies to change and adapt much faster in such a competitive environment.
Microsoft, as a company, has already started to move much faster. This started even pre-CEO change with Ballmer near the end of his tenure promising Microsoft will speed up release cycles. Satya Nadella, it seems, is continuing to push this hard as part of his "Cloud first, Mobile first" vision. Not long after taking the helm, Nadella was "trimming the fat" and cutting jobs which was sure to be aimed at preventing the kind of internal arguments and slow processes Microsoft became known for.
The new Microsoft is far more lean, mean, and ready than the one we've known for some time.
You can see this in some of the company's products already. Cortana, their new voice assistant, is being updated at least twice a month behind-the-scenes. Microsoft's new game console, the Xbox One, is being updated every month. Everywhere you look it has the feel of a titan waking-up, re-building itself, and I’ve got a feeling at the end it's going to be impressive.
This titan needs to be fast. Some core products may already be lost to competitors. The fact there is no "Modern UI" version of Office is just laughable, and they wonder why developers haven't adopted something which they haven't adopted themselves. Despite being an Office 365 subscriber, I find myself using Google's suite because that's what the cool kids are using these days.
Even Windows 8 had incredible potential in terms of cross-platform development due to its incredible design; we can only hope APIs are further-aligned in the next versions of Windows in order to realise it.
The teams over at Microsoft are said to be prepped to listen and move fast to feedback. It will give users and developers a real voice. This is said to start with the preview version at the end of the month which it is said you will have to accept updates to be pushed to the OS at any time in order to use it. Windows-as-a-Service could mean goodbye curse, goodbye "Patch Tuesday", goodbye with the "dinosaur" image, and hello to quick updates which can adapt with the rest of the industry.
Do you think Microsoft would be best adopting Windows-as-a-Service? Let us know in the comments.