Microsoft's Joe Belfiore Confirms Windows 10 S Mode Arriving In 2019

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Say goodbye to Windows 10 S as a standalone SKU and hello to S Mode in Windows 10. Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore confirmed on Twitter that Windows 10 S will be integrated into Windows 10 as a special 'mode' sometime next year. Just as things currently work with the standalone version, S Mode in Windows 10 will limited devices to running Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps that Microsoft has curated through its Windows Store.

It's not clear why exactly Microsoft is going this route. One possible explanation is that baking S Mode into Windows 10 would perhaps make it easier for students and teachers to upgrade the OS to the full version of Windows 10, if and when they wanted to. As it stands, it costs $50 to upgrade a machine running Windows 10 S to the regular version of Windows 10, at which point the system would be able to run non-curated UWP apps and x86 programs alike.
Microsoft released Windows 10 S last year to bring Chrome OS users back into the Windows ecosystem, and to prevent others from jumping ship in the first place. Chrome OS and Chromebooks proved popular in the education market, both because of the comparatively low price and ease of use. With Windows 10 S, Microsoft started pushing education PCs starting at $189. It also included a number of perks to get the ball rolling, such as:
  • Free subscription to Minecraft Education Edition for new Windows 10 education PCs
  • Free Windows 10 S for all schools on their current genuine Windows Pro PCs
  • Free Microsoft Office 365 for Education with Microsoft teams

This latest move by Microsoft does not come as a complete surprise. Thurrott last month had the inside scoop on these plans, so we have known about this for a few weeks now. Assuming the earlier information turns out to be correct, S Mode will be available to OEMs across Windows 10 Home, Pro, and Education SKUs. Windows 10 Home S and Education users will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Home for free, and those running Windows 10 Pro S will be able to bump up to the regular Windows 10 Pro version for $50.

None of those details have been confirmed, however, so we will have to wait and see.