Is Windows 10 even a viable consumer OS anymore?

Editorial / Microsoft / Tech
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Legacy Windows, which is business focused, is overkill for the consumer market. The majority of Windows 10 is business bloat when it comes to home use.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, what with the massive glitches and bugs in the latest 1903 Windows update, and I don’t think Windows 10 is a general consumer option for an OS at this point. The reason being is because legacy Windows, which is business-focused, is overkill for the consumer market. The majority of Windows is business bloat when it comes to home use. The consumer doesn’t need the majority of it for working on a home internet connection. I get it, at one point Microsoft had Win NT and Win 98 and the goal was to unify it all into one experience. That worked then but it doesn’t work now. Not when you have a billion users and a one size fits all mentality OS that is being updated monthly.

If someone asks me what they should buy for home use, I will first find out their use cases, but then be more apt to recommend ChromeOS or something in an Apple flavor as opposed to Windows 10. Home users don’t need the headache of jumping through hoops to fix the issues that each Windows Update tends to bring with it. From failing batteries with a 2-hour lifespan to revved up CPU’s, to microphone drivers that no longer work because some update tanked them… there is just no point for the home user to deal with that mess. If the home user is absolutely stuck on Office products (and the monstrosity they have become) then they can still use Office 365 on other platforms without buying into the Windows OS platform.

Before the wild masses rise up and hurl their used and discarded memory sticks at me, let me make it clear that Windows 10 isn’t going anywhere. That option is and will still be available for anyone to choose. I’m just saying that it really isn’t the best option for most people today. Especially when the younger generation is doing more and more of their “computing” via a mobile device. The Windows 10 OS user, and in fact the dedicated PC tower user, is becoming a very small fraction and an outlier in the consumer tech market. Those who are gamers, developers, CAD users, the creative batch, and those of the mindset they just can’t move on from Win 10 or the desktop experience really only have their small corner of the tech world to exist in. Again, that experience isn’t going away, but it is no longer the domineering experience that fits the general public and how they use and consume everything from media to productivity. The general user can do pretty much everything from their couch now, and on their smartphone while watching Netflix.

Microsoft is really locked into Win32 and they seem to be afraid of making a full sail change from it. They tried with UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps and have since confirmed that that is no longer the future for Windows. Why? Partially because businesses are still reliant on Win32 and refuse to update their hardware and software (if it isn’t broke, why fix it?), and partly because some developers just don’t want to learn new things and move forward. There’s also the Microsoft Store angle, where developers would need to hand over a portion of their earnings on every sale of a UWP app. That didn’t sit well at all and for good reason. Just because Apple can get away with that in their App store doesn’t mean that the same system will work for Windows users.

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There are rumors for an upcoming announcement of a Windows Lite OS. I fear that the death of that would also be the result of Windows fans themselves. Just look at Windows S and see how far that venture has gone. If any article brings it up, you will see comments with pitchforks demanding to know why Chrome or Mozilla can’t be installed. Nevermind the fact that those raising their fists in anger were not the intended audience anyway. Windows Lite or Windows S is meant to go up against Google Chrome as far as the customers that they target. The hardcore Windows fan has an issue with Microsoft having different skews for their OS. They bought and drank the kool-aid on this “one OS to rule them all” spiel that even Microsoft gave up on already. The truth is, Microsoft doesn’t seem to care about the home user experience as the money is in the business side of things, therefore Windows 10 is not even meant for the home user.

So where do they go from here? If they were smart they would definitely split the experience between home and business once again, even in the face of the anger of their Win32 devotees. For a home OS, they could remove all of those business-centric features that home users never use. Then they could license that Lite OS as a loss leader so that OEM’s can create and sell Windows machines that are not coming in at $700 – $1000+ just to get something serviceable. On the business side, let them go full bloat and release a Windows 10 Pro Enterprise Super Duper edition or whatever crazy marketing they come up with. People from the home consumer market who want to buy it will, of course, be able too. The point is that it isn’t forced on the general user. Again though, this all hinges on the notion that Microsoft even cares about that consumer market at all?

What do you think about Windows 10 as a consumer? Are you a fan of the “one OS to rule them all” or do you think a better plan of attack is splitting up the home and business experience? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook, or MeWe.

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