Well, Microsoft has done it again – this time they call it Windows 10 S and it is supposed to be lightweight Windows 10 which should be safer and prolong laptop/tablet battery life. The way I see it that is where the benefits end. What goes on further is only Microsoft’s attempt to serve their own agenda, not their user’s needs. Here is why:
The sales pitch
The sales pitch is that this is the perfect new Windows for educational purposes. So they want students to learn on Windows, rather than Chromebooks which currently dominate the US school system – primarily because of their price. So they created comparatively expensive tablet and put the stripped down version of Windows on it. I am not sure how that will play out for the education market, but I am not so sure it is the most magical mix of ingredients for the perfect sales formula.
Bing and Edge, without a choice
Bing will be default search engine and Edge will be default web browser. You cannot change them. You prefer Google? You can still create a bookmark but you cannot change search engine in Edge browser. You prefer Firefox or Chrome? Maybe both will one day exist on Windows 10 S but they will use Edge rendering engine and not their own. This is similar to Apple model but the difference is that when Firefox and Chrome entered iOS AppStore, they gained user-base from already well built AppStore. This is not the same with Windows Apps Store which, at the moment is a wasteland. So, on the one hand, Microsoft wants you to stop using Google as search engine and switch to the inferior Bing engine and wants to be Google. On the other hand it wants to have full control over the apps which are published for the Windows and wants to be Apple. But if this is not enough for you and you want to run Win32/non-store Apps, you still have an option to upgrade it to Windows 10 Pro for the small cost of $49 (or return the laptop/tablet to BestBuy).
Confusion and more confusion
Microsoft positions Windows 10 S right between the Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro indicating somehow that Windows 10 S is better than Home version and worse than Pro version. In fact, with Windows 10 Home or Pro you can run Windows desktop apps (or Win32 apps), which you cannot do with Windows 10 S which makes Windows 10 S the worse of the pack. The only apps you can run on Windows 10 S are the ones which are published on Windows Apps Store. So you might imagine that someone might purchase Windows 10 S thinking that they got something better than Windows 10 Home just to end up with having no choice other than the Windows Store Apps, looking for inefficient replacement for the already well developed non-store apps. And there are way too many good programs to be listed here which simply are not present on Windows App Store.
Not the first time
This is not the first time Microsoft has attempted something like this. Last time it was called Windows RT. As of today, this operating system is discontinued. Is this the fate of the new Windows 10 S? Time will tell. Odds are not great in Microsoft’s favor.
What to do?
For now, and I am not the only one who thinks the same – I would wait and avoid it. Windows 10 Home or Pro are simply the better choice being able to run all the Windows apps. Even though, there is an upgrade option to purchase upgrade to Windows 10 Pro ($49), this still doesn’t look like a great deal to me. I know that Microsoft wants developers to switch immediately to Windows App Store. But many will wait how the situation unfolds. And if that happens in sufficient amount, Windows App Store will remain as it is today – a comparatively minor and irrelevant App Store. Let’s wait a year or two to see if Windows 10 S will be discontinued or not. An awfully lot of time to wait in the computer software industry.
But in the meantime, I would recommend getting Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro instead and saving yourself lots of trouble (and money). Come to think of it, maybe that is exactly what they wanted you to do?