One can see the reason why Microsoft saw a need to update Windows 10. Apple has been updating MacOS and has now moved its hardware away from the Intel x86 processor family to focus on its M1 ARM-based system on a chip. Mac users wishing to run Windows are unable to use “bootcamp”, the utility which provides Macs with a dual boot option to run Windows.
Microsoft probably felt compelled to do something, and make a big splash. After all, Windows 10 was released six years ago.
But while Apple has focused on its core hardware and software platform, Microsoft has been trying harder and harder to make Windows more open. If the open source developers conferences are anything to go by, Apple hardware is the preferred platform for software developers. MacOS and BSD Unix have a common ancestry, which may be why developers haven been drawn to it.
In an attempt to lure software developers away from MacOS, Microsoft has been steadily embracing more and more open source technologies. It acquired GitHub. It also offers a Unix shell for Windows 10 and the Windows Subsystem for Linux lets developers run a GNU/Linux environment – including most command-line tools, utilities, and applications – directly on Windows, unmodified, without the overhead of a traditional virtual machine or dual boot setup.
This philosophy for openness goes further with Windows 11. In his comments introducing the new operating system, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, said: “Personal computing requires choice. We want to remove the barriers to provide real choice.” Windows 10 already supports ARM-based hardware. Windows 11, now offers users the ability to run Android apps, albeit via Amazon’s Android appstore.
For someone who has designs to build the next internet mega platform, Nadella positions Windows 11 as a platform for platform developers. The implications are that Microsoft is on a journey to become a more open company. Nadella sees Windows as a platform that does not put limits on what developers want to do.
The Microsoft Store, for instance, now allows developers to plug-in their own ecommerce platform, so they can avoid sharing revenue with Microsoft.
All of these things are great additions to Windows, but is another OS really necessary? No one really makes a big song and dance about the latest Android OS. Strictly speaking, iOS is Apple’s megaphone to shout about new iPhones and iPads. The thing is, Windows 11 could simply have been rolled into the next half yearly OS update that Microsoft issues.