A few days ago I asked if Windows 9 would be Microsoft’s last desktop operating system.
Yesterday the company partially answered the question by announcing the next version will be named Windows 10 which conveniently skips version nine.
Skipping around numbers isn’t unusual for Microsoft, most famously Word skipped from version two to six just to overtake competitor WordPerfect in the late 1990s.
Windows itself has gone 3.0, 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, ME, XP, Vista, 7 and 8 in the past — that’s without mentioning the Windows NT family — so jumping to Windows 10 doesn’t detract from any logic in the Microsoft’s naming system.
The key point from Microsoft’s announcement is the business focus along with the continuation of Windows 8’s unified experience across PCs, smartphones and games consoles that has proved less than successful.
One area where Microsoft has conceded defeat is in the battle for a Start button with Windows 10, one of the biggest irritants upgrading users found with the new operating system and one of the reasons why many users chose the older Windows 7 software when buying a PC.
How the Start button will work on Windows Phone remains to be seen although Microsoft seem committed to the ‘One Windows’ vision despite its technological and marketplace difficulties.
Another interesting development with the new product is the Windows Insider Program, billed as an ‘open collaborative development effort to change the way Windows is built and delivered’.
Back in the old days this was called a beta program where testers were invited to try out new software to test the product and fine tune user experiences. At least it shows Microsoft are embracing the language, if not the spirit, of the collaborative economy.
Microsoft have released a YouTube video Introducing Windows 10 with Windows Vice President Joe Belfiore outlining the features of the new system.
Whether Windows 10 is enough to shore up the declining fortunes of the company’s Windows division and Joe’s job will be a key question for analysts and industry watchers over the next three years.