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Windows 10 starts shift to platform-independent computing

Gartner expects Windows 10 will become mainstream faster than any previous version. But deploying Microsoft's OS will coincide with a shift in IT

Many organisations are planning to begin pilots for Windows 10 in the first half of 2016, according to Gartner.

The analyst company predicted IT departments will broaden their deployments in the latter part of the year.

Gartner expected that at least half of organisations will have started some production deployments by the beginning of 2017, with an eye to completing their migrations in 2019, before the end of support deadline for Windows 7 in 2020.

Windows 10 is poised to become the most widely installed version of Windows ever, following on the path of Windows XP and Windows 7 before it, according to Gartner.

Unlike previous Windows migrations, such as the switch from XP to Windows 7, Gartner expected IT departments will not delay the roll-out of Windows 10. Steve Kleynhans, research vice-president at Gartner, said: "For businesses, we expect that implementation will be significantly more rapid than that seen with Windows 7 six years ago."

Strong compatibility with Windows 7 applications and devices, and a pent-up demand for tablet and 2-in-1 device roll-outs are expected to drive corporations to roll out the operating system (OS).

Many people will be familiar with Windows 10, due to the free consumer upgrade.

"In the consumer market, a free upgrade coupled, with broad legacy device support and automatic over-the-air upgrades, ensures that there will be tens of millions of users familiar with the operating system before the end of 2015," said Kleynhans.

Given the rise of mobile operating systems like iOS and Android, the application portfolio in an enterprise will increasingly become platform-independent, enabling them to be accessed from any device.

As platform-specific Windows applications dip below a certain threshold and become a "manageable minority" — that is 20% to 30% of the application portfolio, Gartner predicted organisations would find it increasingly financially and operationally attractive to ring-fence all of them using device-independent delivery options.

Ken Dulaney, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said: "From an IT perspective, Windows 10 and the move of applications to the back end will dramatically change how those applications are delivered to employees. Updates will be more frequent, more incremental and less obvious to the end user. Software vendors and internal IT have much to do to adapt to this new model and to move away from the image management model for PCs of today."

As Computer Weekly has previously reported, a number of organisations have begun piloting new ways of providing enterprise applications. One example is  Peterborough Council, which has looked at deploying Chromebooks or tablet devices to 50% of its staff.

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