Microsoft will crowdsource Windows 10

Microsoft is taking a new approach to its latest operating system - crowdsourcing. (Gadget)

Microsoft is taking a new approach to its latest operating system - crowdsourcing. (Gadget)

Following Tuesday’s Windows 10 announcement, Microsoft South Africa held a technical briefing to explain its new thinking. Zoaib Hoosen, managing director of Microsoft South Africa, explained that Windows 10 is not just the new version of Windows, but rather a next generation platform that is going to be designed not just by Microsoft Team, but in conjunction with customers and partners.

Wait. What ? This is a very different Microsoft.

In the past, releases of a product consisted of an almost completed programme that was available to developers and those who signed up for various Microsoft programmes. Feedback was accepted, which consisted of mainly bug fixes and hardware/driver issues and then the software was released to the public. Naturally, the more people who use the software would result in more bugs being reported and these would be fixed with software updates.

That was the old Microsoft. Today Microsoft wants a much more collaborative, hands-on involvement from customers to shape the new platform. Referred to as the Windows Insider Programme (WIP), this is the Microsoft’s largest ever open collaborative development effort to change the way Windows is built and delivered to best meet the needs of customers. It is of course understood that this is not for everyone, but rather for those technical people who are able and willing to report back to Microsoft with not only their bugs, but also their experiences (both positive and negative). 

Feedback will be submitted through the Windows Feedback app for the sharing of suggestions and issues, as well as a Windows Technical Preview Forum to interact with Microsoft engineers and fellow insiders.

In other words, from Microsoft’s announcement of Windows 10 until it is commercially available, which is said to be late next year, the company is essentially using the “wisdom of the crowds” to crowd source the best release of the next generation Windows platform. Anthony Doherty, Windows Business Group lead, refers to this as the “inviting [the customer] to come on a journey”.

Very smart.

Having customers and partners involved right from the early stage and essentially steering the development would ensure that the release of Windows 10 would suit their environments and be the ideal platform – not just on desktops, but sneakily on tablets, mobiles and other connected devices too.

The ideal customer to have is one that helps build their own product to buy from you. “Build it and they will come” is now “let them build it and they will buy it.”

Talk about a win-win situation for Microsoft and its customers.

Key items that stood out for me in the briefing:

  • One system of familiarity: Windows 10 goes back to its root of familiarity. There are now the Start menu, the Windows and mouse interaction and apps loading inside a window feaures. These are the hallmarks of the Windows family. 
  • There is also the touch and tile ability of Windows 8 for those devices that require a touch interface. 
  • With Windows 10, the same operating system, kernel, and architecture will power devices of the Internet of Things, tablets, phones, gaming consoles, PCs and large PPI screens. 
  • Developers will be able to customise the interface to adapt to the size and ability of the device.

Microsoft is basing everything on the cloud and mobile first and with Windows 10 there is:

  • One universal app platform;
  • One security model;
  • One management system;
  • One deployment approach; and
  • One familiar experience.

This “one-ness” allows developers to have better control over their app and be able to deploy more innovation, even into mission critical systems. All with one management system and the same deployment approach to all.

Add desktop function
Windows 10 has the ability for the user to set up different views of the desktop depending on needs at a particular point. The same user could have a work desktop with business application and a kids desktop that will only have their apps and games. This is similar to the current ability to have multiple users on the same computer, each with their own profile, icons and apps – but in Windows 10 users will not have to log in and out to load a different profile.

Active directory integration
Windows 10 and Microsoft Store will have a tighter integration into the Active Directory. No longer will the enterprises have to create individual Hotmail accounts to log into the Store. This tighter integration will also allow the enterprise to have their own curated App Store of work-approved apps as well as the ability to manage the licensing of apps to individuals which can be revoked should that person leave the company.

Upgrade not replace
Windows 10 will be an update of Windows 7 and Windows 8 and will not require a rip and replace. This is key for those businesses that have invested in Windows 7 and 8, and is especially important for those businesses who have invested time and money into rolling out Windows into their organisation. They can now safely install Windows 7 knowing their investment will not wasted within a year.

How to get early copy of Windows 10?

If you want to get your hands on an early preview copy of Windows 10, check out Technet and Windows Technical Preview.

  •   Liron Segev is also known as The Techie Guy. You can read his blog or follow him on Twitter on @Liron_Segev.

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