Today, The Verge wrote about the hidden punchline of the last Microsoft-event where the new Surface-devices where shown. While nobody stated it, The Verge summarized the whole event using the catchy roundup that „Windows is not important for Microsoft anymore“. Well, although I love this publication and am a fond reader of it, I think that this summary is a little bit provoking - some rather name it „click-baiting“. What has happened?
New Surface devices including the Surface Duo and Surface Neo appeared for the first time (aimed for a late 2020 release) and while the Surface Neo will run an adopted version of Windows 10 named Windows 10x, the Duo is going to run on Android. Yes, on Android - and indeed we already know that Microsoft is steering in another direction since Satya Nadella took over the ship from Steve Ballmer in 2014. The direction Nadella is pointing Microsoft to has already been clear over the years - not Microsoft is the focus, but the apps on all devices: A necessary evil to stay in the mobile sector after Windows 10 Mobile stepped down - or was taken to rest, depending on how you may call it.
It is no secret that Microsoft prefers Android more that Apples iOS - cooperations with Samsung, Bill Gates telling that he is using an Android device: No new facts here and focusing on the licensing terms there is no other chance as to go with Android which is okay - the apps are the key to get the user in Microsoft’s ecosystem: A fact that hasn’t apparently been known since Satya Nadella was promoted to Microsoft’s CEO. But back to the event - the Neo will run Android and there is no real way to think that Windows isn’t the focus of Microsoft anymore. Okay, there will be a focus on Microsoft Graph, a collection of APIs that connects devices to Microsofts cloud services and acts as an important gateway into Windows, Office 365, and Azure - but even this is an element of Microsoft in 2019, a company that has learned from the past.
It is more than clear that the classic ways of distributing software or operating systems are gone: According to the actual way of things, Windows 10 won’t be successed by Windows 11, 12 and so on. Instead there will be surely a way that Windows is going to be delivered as a service: At the moment, we have a Windows 10 with a big update reaching the devices twice a year, bringing more and more new features - something that hasn’t been there in the past, too.
According to Netmarketshare, Windows 10 is now running on more than 50% of all devices worldwide, taking over the lead from Windows 7 which is down by 30,34% (August 2019) – the January 14th EOL-Deadline surely helps here. Microsoft won’t dump its OS or put down its priority because it is still the key to other services.
Instead the company will focus more on apps but on an overall user experience as well - a fact that did already work out with all famous apps on Android AND iOS. No matter where I am, I have my Microsoft-software with me - not thinking wether I am using a Mac or a Windows-device, an Android-phone or my iPhone. This is the future Nadella and his mates are steering Microsoft into - but, according to my opinion, still with the help of a strong backbone named Windows (10). I think there is no reason to read anything between the lines just because of this Surface-event.
Microsoft’s future will of course somehow be based on Googles code as it comes to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for the Neo or even other possible devices, deeply adopted to Microsofts needs, or the new Edge-browser. Anway, I am quite sure that there will still be the majority of Redmond-essence in Microsofts upcoming strategy, no matter which medium does transport this. There are many tools Microsoft is using at the moment, but none of them is a killer for Windows 10 or the reason why the importance shouldn’t be focused on Windows anymore. The diversity of apps on all modern devices is already state-of-the-art and something that has been grown for years so there’s no need to take the operating system that has built Microsoft (and WAS build by Microsoft) to grave.
Windows is alive, Windows is a vital system and I doubt that Microsoft is about to change this anytime soon. But hey, these are just my two cents. What do you think? Is there more to read between the lines like a “Windows is not important for us anymore” or is this just some kind of misinterpretation?