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What Windows 10 means for the enterprise

Woody Leonhard | Oct. 2, 2014
Microsoft's first glimpse of Windows 10 packs plenty of intrigue regarding its future impact on IT.

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft rolled out the widely anticipated Windows Technical Preview yesterday morning, playing to a handpicked crowd of Microsoft reporters and analysts. Although Microsoft didn't have the technical will to broadcast the event live, you can see a recording of the 40-minute presentation on YouTube.

Windows honcho Terry Myerson surprised almost about everybody with the new name: "Because we're not building an incremental product, that new Windows is Windows 10." Well, it didn't surprise InfoWorld's Pete Babb, who "predicted" the Windows 9 skip in an April Fools' gag more than a year ago.

But now that the name shock has worn off, exactly how nonincremental is Windows 10, and what should IT expect from Windows 10 when the bits officially arrive?

Windows 10 high points for admins and developers: Tailored device experience, unified application platform, hazy MDM
With the elimination of the Windows Phone moniker and the beleaguered dual-UI nature of Windows 10's predecessor, many of the questions surrounding new CEO Satya Nadella's vision for Windows going forward have centered on cross-platform concerns, not just in terms of UI across devices but how developers would be expected to target apps at Windows in its various incarnations.

To that end, Myerson set a mammoth bar for cross-platform compatibility: "We're not talking about one UI to rule them all -- we're talking about one product family, with a tailored experience for each device. And across this breadth of devices, we are delivering one application platform for our developers. Whether you're building a game or a line-of-business application, there will be one way to write a universal app that targets the entire family. There will be one store, one way for applications to be discovered, purchased, and updated across all of these devices."

In a companion post, Microsoft's Jim Alkove, who leads Windows enterprise program management team, explained, "We're planning for the new, unified app store to allow for volume app purchases based on existing organizational identity, flexible distribution, and the ability for organizations to reclaim or reuse licenses. Organizations will also be able to create a customized store, curating store experiences that can include their choice of [Windows] Store apps alongside company-owned apps into a separate employee store experience."

InfoWorld's Tim Anderson took a deeper look at Microsoft's Universal App strategy as it existed for developers this summer and found the cross-platform write-once development process promising, if problematic. It should be interesting to see how this strategy evolves in the months prior to Windows 10's general release.

Microsoft's widening device scope for Windows has elicited questions regarding device management, as well as how separation of concerns for personal and business use will work under Windows going forward.


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