A couple of months ago, we posted about the prospect of a subscription-based Windows. Given the changing landscape, it wasn't that hard to believe that such a thing could come true, and if it didn't, many believed that the next version of Windows wouldn't be like what we're used to.
At Microsoft's Ignite conference, we were hit with some confirmation of that. During his talk, Jerry Nixon dropped the bombshell: "Right now we’re releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we’re all still working on Windows 10."
That sounds a bit grim, but Windows isn't going anywhere. We're just not sure what's in store years down the road. It actually seems to be the case that Microsoft hasn't even finished fleshing out the details yet.
When Windows 10 releases this summer, it'll become the first Windows that acts as a "service". That's to say that it will continually be updated, but not change its version number. There will simply be no "major" releases of Windows. In this regard, I guess we could compare it to Adobe's Creative Cloud, where applications receive big updates, but little fuss is made over the version number.
Does that mean that Windows 10 will eventually go subscription-based? Not necessarily, though it shouldn't be ruled out. What could happen is that Microsoft drop the "10" name and simply stick with "Windows", then continually update that. It could then sell standalone licenses that give people the OS as it is up to that point, and also sell annual licenses that behave like its Office 365 service does, and likewise, Adobe's Creative Cloud.
Perhaps we'll simply see "Windows (2016 Version)" on the store shelves. If Microsoft's Office suites are anything to go by, though, the pricing of those wouldn't be nearly as attractive as simply subscribing on an annual basis, but they should still prove popular for those who simply don't want another sizable charge hitting their credit card every year.
One thing's for certain: the future of Windows is going to be very interesting.