So, I was just working out things with the ‘preview’ version of Microsoft’s Windows 10, which they’re currently sending out for sampling purposes. Coincidentally, ‘Knuckee’ of Lacrosse, Wisconsin, asked me on Facebook why Microsoft have gone directly from #8 to #10? The answer? I have no clue. Perhaps Pamela Gates thinks one good ol’ throbbing nine incher is enough in this world? And Knuckee, why are you called Knuckee?

Microsoft’s Windows 10 has a lot riding on it. It has been presented as a means of making nice with an angry public to placate them over the disastrous enterprise that was Windows 8, a failure of huge proportions, versus Windows 7, which was big, boffo a hit. Yet, really, the truth is that Windows 10 is going to be the very final shot at Apple’s bows. After Windows 10, the company will undergo its grand transition from a kind of glorified licensing and bundling facility to a specialist in Cloud computing.

What does that mean in practical terms? Windows 10 will be built around an ongoing process of upgrading and scheduled releases. No more Windows 11, 12 and 13, as, theoretically, the cloud platform evolves over time. In theory, enterprises will be able to consume innovation easier. Microsoft customers will no longer be retail customers. Instead they will be subscribers. Indeed, the handwriting has been on the wall as software like Azure, Office 365 and scores of enterprise apps are already delivered as a subscription. Thus, Windows becomes the last vestige of an enterprise licensing model.

How much will it cost? Well, they’re not saying. Microsoft haven’t given any clues on pricing for Windows 10, but, whatever the cost, I would expect leader coupons galore and an aggressive ‘Super Software-Service’ campaign attached to everything connected. Customers who are already Enterprise subscribers will get Windows 10 updates quarterly.

As Windows 10 won’t arrive until approximately April 2015, much of this cloud/subscription transition will depend on just how quick and efficiently enterprises move from the Windows 7 many workers are still going to be smitten with. Realistically then, a lot of businesses won’t make their transitions and deployments until well into 2016. The biggest likelihood is that most companies are going to go with a Windows XP set up. Keep in mind that Windows 7 can be made to last for years (and will only become completely redundant by 2020). Bottom line: A lot of dithering at many small businesses as departures from Windows XP and Windows 7 happen at a snail’s pace. Windows 8 users may already be a distinct minority—sort of like Basque-Americans sheep farming in Utah—but they will most likely be holdouts, too.

No matter what, seven or eight years from now Microsoft‘s software will come under a cloud model. An added bonus for Microsoft is that the Windows 10 launch and timeframe for enterprises provides a smooth transition from licensing to subscriptions and recurring revenue.

Other stuff: There is a lot of apprehension over Windows 10 having a keylogger. This is from a rumor started by The Inquirer, which is a shrill kind of yellow-journalism tech rag. Check it out! It’s an article full of hysterical rhetoric about how Microsoft has given Uncle Sugar carte blanche to survey your every move. Because of a keylogger embedded in the Windows 10, you are, in effect, giving Bill Gates & Co. permission for Microsoft to screen your files, and in effect keylog your keyboard input. This is laughable and silly. The same can be said of any current keyboard set-up.

What I’ve seen is a very early version of Windows 10. Some features are yet to be enabled, and many of what should be its eventual signature features are still not enabled. Cortana will allow crystal-clear voice interaction as with Windows Phone. Other new stuff includes a new Snap Assist feature which captures ways to “snap” apps vertically, horizontally and side-by-side. A new task view will help users navigate between your own Virtual Desktops and those of others. Another new feature is called ‘Continuum.Continuum will allow users with two-in-one devices who can connect and disconnect keyboards to more easily transition between the different modes. When a keyboard is disconnected, a back button will appear on the task bar to help users to more easily navigate.

Worried? Go with Apple.

Microsoft Windows 10: A Sampling

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