With Windows 10 officially announced as a free upgrade for PCs and devices for at least the first year of distribution, the news has left many wondering what the future of Windows will be. Windows enthusiasts, doomsday prophets, skittish investors, and tech journalists are all very eager to weigh in with speculations and rumors.
The predominant theory for the future of Windows has Microsoft turning the company’s traditionally licensed operating system into a Software-As-A-Service (SAAS) model. The idea started floating around on ZDNet as a journalist and Microsoft news insider Mary Jo Foley began noticing patterns of unbundling and rebranding of Microsoft services leading up to the Windows 10 unveiling. With speculation becoming fact regarding a free Windows 10 upgrade, the SAAS theory seems beyond plausible. In fact, the SAAS approach seems to be the only reasonable course Microsoft has after their 'free upgrade' announcement.
Russian leaker WZor is offering up his two-cents to the rumor mill today on Twitter. Once translated, the tweet all but confirms Mary Jo Foley’s original theory. WZor believes that Windows will transition into a cloud-based OS by the end of 2020. According to the tweet, there are people inside of Redmond currently working on a Windows cloud client, and when complete, the release will follow the Windows 10 free upgrade president.
Microsoft ведет работы над созданием Windows Cloud клиентская часть которой будет полностью бесплатна, ПОЛНЫЙ релиз намечается на 2020 год..
— WZor (@WZorNET) May 8, 2015
Once the ‘free’ floodgates are open, there is no going back. To date, developers, content creators, businesses, and services are struggling to find ways to garner a sustainable business with free options. Some have sought pay-as-you-go options, others have taken to freemium models and lower cost bundled subscriptions approaches. Eventually, Microsoft will have to decide what works best for the company and its users. Just like us, we’re sure Microsoft is keeping a close eye on the adoption and success of the new free approach. Once the ‘free’ offer becomes a reality for consumers, it’ll be very interesting to see how Microsoft pivots on the enterprise, as well as the next few upgrades for Windows in the future.
Interestingly enough, the rumor of Windows Cloud first appeared back in April of 2014, when Wzor claimed Microsoft was working on a prototype operating system called Windows Cloud. At the time, Windows Cloud was rumored to be an operating system that requires an internet connection for full functionality. While in offline mode, the operating system would be similar to Microsoft’s budget operating system, Windows Starter, offering basic functionality. This obviously smells like something you would see in Chrome OS on a Chromebook. Could Microsoft be experimenting with something similar?
Remember, this is just a huge rumor until we hear more concrete evidence.