Microsoft would be happy with me right now – I just upgraded to Windows 10. It was free, as a consumer, of course, so that helped. But frankly, the only reason I did so was because my seven-year old Windows Vista laptop was coughing and spluttering like a dodgy Volkswagen diesel.
Apparently I have followed the lead of more than 100 million people who have downloaded Windows 10 so far – that’s a little over 5% of all PCs in the world.
I would guess that my first experience of Windows 10 was not dissimilar to many other reasonably tech-savvy users: Where’s the control panel? Where’s the user account setup? Why do I have to create a Microsoft account to use all the services? Why is “shut down” hidden behind a feature called “power”? But you get there in the end.
And so, I can now happily continue using my Windows 10 laptop at home to do exactly the same things I used my old Windows Vista laptop for – which is basically anything that needs a proper keyboard. Maybe 80% of what I once used the home laptop for I now do on my not-Windows smartphone or tablet. I don’t think I’m at all unusual in that.
So the big question that remains for Microsoft as it applauds itself for the rapid take-up of Windows 10 is – how many of those 100 million users are businesses? Very few, for a bet.
What is the compelling reason for a company to go through the obvious pain of a Windows migration for all their users yet again? For the majority of organisations, there isn’t one. It’s telling perhaps, that when Computer Weekly asked an expert to write the first article in our forthcoming Buyer’s Guide to Windows 10 Migration, he wrote mostly about why you don’t really need a desktop anymore.
Nobody justifies IT purchases based on a three- or five-year payback period anymore – the length of a typical Microsoft licensing deal. It needs to deliver a return in a year or two at most, often less. It’s hard to make that case based on Windows 10. That’s even before you consider previous bad experiences with things like application compatibility.
The same questions now face Office 2016 – do you really need those extra features? Do they really justify the pain of a corporate migration? Almost certainly not.
The new Microsoft under CEO Satya Nadella knows all this. Windows and Office today are simply vehicles to get businesses onto Azure and Office 365. The real question for IT managers is not how to upgrade to Windows 10 and Office 2016, but why?