Windows 10 : Windows 8 :: Windows 7 : Windows Vista

by Peter Schay, President and CEO of TAC.

I’ve been using the Windows 10 Technical/Insider Previews (slow ring, now build 10130) on my primary work laptop since October, and it’s clear to me that in Windows 10 Microsoft has successfully salvaged the Metro/WinRT technology, introduced with Windows 8, to create a winning new OS version.

Beginning with the introduction of Windows Vista in 2007, Microsoft seems to have fallen into a cycle of overreaching “failure” followed by corrective success in its Windows versions (keeping in mind that for Windows, “failure” still means hundreds of millions sold).

(I should point out that, in the case of Vista, TAC was far more positive in our assessment than most pundits at the time [see SmartTip “Cutting through the Nonsense about Windows Vista, Windows 7, etc.”].)

As explained in the SmartTip cited above, the highly successful Windows 7 is basically a “cleaned up” version of what Vista should have been, with mostly incremental improvements. The one major new feature in Windows 7, Windows XP Mode, was added specifically to address the application software compatibility problems that plagued Vista.

Our advice regarding Windows 8 was, like the product itself, bifurcated. Microsoft’s emphasis on the “mobile first,” touch-oriented Modern (a.k.a. Metro) side of Windows 8 was an immense turn-off for desktop users with non-touch PCs, i.e., most of the Windows-using world. At the same time, the development of the Modern environment was an absolutely essential strategic move for Microsoft in the face of the Apple iPad and various Google Android tablet devices. (See the blog postings below, “Windows 8, BYOD, and IT Leadership,” “Yes, Windows 8 Is Bad…,” “Windows Reimagined,” and “A Learning Curve with Windows 8? Much Ado About Nothing, but Stick With Windows 7 for the Enterprise,” for our comments at the time.)

Now, on the threshold of the July 29 general availability of Windows 10, there is no doubt that Windows 10 is to Windows 8 as Windows 7 was to Windows Vista. The clunky awkwardness of the dual Windows 8 environments has evolved into a more-or-less seamless — and far more desktop friendly — experience which, on 2-in-1 devices (e.g., Microsoft Surface 3, Lenovo Yoga) includes the “Continuum” capability of automatically adjusting on-the-fly to changes in physical configuration.

Bottom line, Windows 10 is a winner. Any organization that has not yet deployed Windows 8 devices should wait for Windows 10.