Windows 10 S is not for you, that's why you hate it

old man

Many people don't seem to understand who Windows 10 S is for. That's why you'll read many comments and stories, including here at BetaNews, saying that Microsoft has introduced a crippled version of Windows 10 that will not appeal to anyone or that the operating system is only here to get people to pay an upgrade fee to the "proper" Windows 10. They're missing the point... by a mile.

If you look at the context in which Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 S, which is its #MicrosoftEDU event, you'll understand that this operating system has a specific scope. It's here so that educators and students who have complained of the complexity of using Windows and migrated to Chromebooks can fall in love with Windows again. That's it. There is no conspiracy, and there's nothing more to it.

Windows 10 S is Microsoft's answer to Chrome OS, so it's natural for it to be adequately designed for the education market's needs. If you're the sort of person who uses professional software on a daily basis, that you can't get from the Store, you won't get it. You can't. You'll be able to get Office, and other x86 software, when it's added to the Store, which totally changes things in terms of usability. But keep in mind that specialized software may not get there.

But the kid who just wants to read some stuff online and write a short essay doesn't want that. And that kid has no need for the added complexity that comes from all the extra bits that make up the difference between Windows 10 S and Windows 10. Quite frankly, I don't need them most of the time. Personal computing has changed, and what some view as crippled others view as right for the job.

The days when people actively looked for a full-blown operating system, as in must have it, are gone. That's why PC sales are terrible and that's why smartphones rule the world. People don't care about having the most features or the highest level of functionality, they just want something that is reliable and helps them get things done. That's what Chromebooks are all about, and that's what Windows 10 S is all about. It's getting back to the essence of personal computing, which is what is actually relevant to the average consumer, which includes students and educators.

If you'll argue that some users could need more than that I will not try to convince you otherwise. That's what Windows 10 is for and that's why Microsoft is right to provide an upgrade path. And, let's be honest, if you're the intended user, you'll get Windows 10 Pro for free. If you're not, then why buy a Windows 10 S device in the first place? (The exception here is Surface Laptop, which ships with Windows 10 S -- but you'll be able to upgrade for free here as well, at least for a while.)

If you're a Windows 10 S user who'll reach that point sometime in the near future, you'll probably love the fact that you will not have to switch to a different platform when that time comes. That's what you have to do if you're using a Chromebook and you want some "proper" (as some people like to call it) software. Google doesn't have anything more powerful. And, no, Linux wouldn't qualify as an upgrade, because the differences are just too substantial to ignore.

Having Windows 10 S as the starting point is better, because the user experience will not change as dramatically and the learning curve will not be as steep when you move to Windows 10 or whatever comes next. Much of what makes Windows 10 Windows 10 is there in Windows 10 S as well, in terms of user experience. Sure, you will not be able to run x86 software from outside the Store nor change the browser, but you can't do that anyway with Chromebooks. So, where's the problem in that?

The education market will have a deep impact on the success of Microsoft's products and its bottom line in a few years down the road. Ignoring their needs is something that the software giant cannot afford to do. If Windows 10 S is its answer, it's a very inspired one.

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