Windows 10 debuted three months ago, and more than 110 million machines have already upgraded. Microsoft is revealing today that 12 million business PCs are using Windows 10, but the software maker is now readying the operating system for millions more. While there a number of new consumer features for the latest Windows 10 update that rolls out today, the big focus for Microsoft is getting businesses to upgrade.
"We've been hard at work responding to customers," says Windows chief Terry Myerson, in an interview with The Verge. Microsoft has been steadily crafting this latest November update for Windows 10 address business needs, and it's at a point where it thinks the OS is ready. "With this free update we have reached the point in the platform's maturity where we can confidently recommend Windows 10 deployment to whole organizations," says Myerson.
Microsoft needs business to move to Windows 10
That sounds a lot like Microsoft's advice for every version of Windows. Businesses are constantly pushed to upgrade, but most waiting until the first service pack before they even start evaluating a move. It's different for Microsoft this time, because it really needs businesses to move more quickly to ensure it doesn't have millions stuck on Windows 7 just like they were stuck on Windows XP for years.
The latest Windows 10 has a number of new tricks to entice businesses to upgrade. Microsoft is introducing Windows Update for Business and the Windows Store for Business today. Both are designed to easily deploy and manage apps and updates for Windows 10 business PCs. Microsoft has also improved its mobile device management options.
These new features might be enough to tempt some businesses to upgrade, but the real test will be whether that 12 million number grows steadily alongside the broader number of 110 million Windows 10 devices. Microsoft's mission is to get 1 billion devices running Windows 10 within two or three years, and that will require a lot of upgrades and support from big businesses. Companies like Daimler, Nestle, KPMG, Hendrick Motorsports, and Virgin Atlantic are all testing Windows 10, but Microsoft needs thousands more to make the move.
This is the first major update to Windows 10, but consumers and businesses can expect a lot more next year. Internally, Microsoft has already started compiling "Redstone" builds of its next major set of Windows 10 updates. Features like extensions for Microsoft Edge will arrive early next year to testers, before heading out more broadly to the millions of Windows 10 machines. Myerson isn't ready to talk about codename Redstone just yet, but there's no race to get it finished. "The next major update will be based upon what great features we can ring, not by the calendar." As Microsoft has said before, Windows 10 isn't finished, and we'll continue to see improvements throughout 2016.