When Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would be the last monolithic version of Windows ever, it raised some questions on how that would work and what it meant for future updates. Now almost two years after the OS was released to the public, Microsoft has some concrete answers. Going forward, Microsoft says users and IT professionals can expect (and plan for) two major upgrades to Windows 10 every year. The same goes for Office 365 ProPlus, Microsoft's productivity suite that lives in the cloud. Barring any delays, these will roll out every March and September.
Microsoft has already doled out two major upgrades to Windows 10—the Anniversary Update (Redstone 1) last year and more recently the Creators Update (Redstone 2). The Redmond outfit had previously said the latter would be one of two major updates to Windows 10 this year, the next of which we now know will roll out in five months.
Customers have been asking Microsoft for a more predictable release schedule, one that would be simple and easy to follow, the company says. Now they have it. While this does not erase all of the uncertainty surrounding Windows—the biggest unknown is whether updates and/or feature upgrades one day move to a subscription model—it at least gives customers and professionals something to plan around. And for those seeking more information, Microsoft will hold an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on May 4, 2017, from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM Pacific in the Windows as a service AMA space.
Microsoft also clarified that it will support and service each Windows 10 feature release for 18 months.
"This is consistent with our current Windows 10 approach, but adds further clarity and predictability to organizations by aligning with Office 365 ProPlus. In addition, System Center Configuration Manager will support this new aligned update model for Office 365 ProPlus and Windows 10, making both easier to deploy and keep up to date," Microsoft stated in a blog post.
You might recall that Microsoft initially set a goal of reaching 1 billion Windows 10 devices in 2-3 years. That may have been a little too ambitious. It's now three months shy of the 2-year mark and Microsoft is not yet at the halfway mark—it notes that there are more than 400 million monthly active devices running Windows 10. To reach its goal, Microsoft would need to increase that number by 600 million in the next 15 months.
While reaching 1 billion in just 3 years will prove a challenge, Microsoft is happy where things are at. The company says that Windows 10 continues to be the fastest-adopted version of Windows ever, and that it's seeing growth in the enterprise.