The release of Windows 10 is fast approaching, faster than originally planned. Windows 10 was originally slated to release during the holiday season of 2015, and, in contrast to previous versions of Windows that would RTM and then have months until a release to the public, Windows 10 will release to both in the same month. These two changes have altered how Microsoft and manufacturers such as Dell are handling the release.
Windows 10’s release was moved from the holiday season late in the development process, but it’s easy to see the benefit of lining up the release with back to school sales. PC sales around back to school time are high as students, and their parents, look for devices that can guide them through the next few years. By having Windows 10 rollout before August, retail giants, manufacturers, and university stores can stock the shelves with the latest OS from Microsoft, just in time for back to school, and then the holidays beyond that. While the reasoning makes sense, steps that Microsoft had taken years in advance ensured that moving the release date forward wouldn’t adversely affect manufacturers.
Microsoft journalist Paul Thurrott spoke with Dell on how these changes affected their design of PCs. Dell already has devices that you can preorder that will be run Windows 10 and has other devices that have been optimized for it that are already on the market. Windows 10 has features that are enhanced by or require specific hardware such as high quality microphones to work with Cortana, and specific types of cameras that work with Windows Hello. In order for this to be possible, Microsoft had to work with Dell to tell them what features would be in Windows 10 even if they weren’t completed.
Because the RTM and public releases are so close together and were moved up at a very late stage of development, companies like Dell had to have information like this far in advance. Peter Fontana from Dell told Thurrott
“Because we started so early, back in late 2013, we knew what was happening with the product and were ready [from a hardware perspective,” he told me. “When Microsoft changed the date, we reacted very quickly with a comprehensive plan across the product side, technical support and customer service. So it wasn’t a drastic change, just an acceleration.”
With Microsoft working with manufactures so far in advance, the move up didn’t cause as much of a scramble as it could have. It’s in Microsoft’s best benefit to tell Dell and others as much as they can as far in advance as possible. If Dell was set to release a new XPS laptop this fall and then was blindsided by features such as Windows Hello that would hurt sales for Dell and usage rate for Microsoft.
The new approach of having RTM and the release to the public will be interesting to see unfold but because of Microsoft’s work with Dell and others, there won’t be a hardware gap preventing new devices and some that are already on the market from running Windows 10 well.