Microsoft’s Windows operating system and devices running it aren’t exactly convincing users to choose them over Apple’s iPad and iOS operating system just yet. However, a newly announced feature for Windows 10 gives us our first glimpse into the changes Microsoft hopes will lure businesses away from Apple. If it can do that, regular users may follow.
Microsoft hasn’t shown off a lot of the consumer features for Windows 10 just yet. Yesterday though, the company did reveal a big change for businesses. When Windows 10 debuts, it’ll offer what Microsoft is calling “mobile application management,” according to Windows for Your Business.
Effectively, Microsoft will allow companies to buy applications in through the Windows Store, just like Apple does with the iTunes App Store. The trick is, Microsoft is also including a management layer that allows companies to assign what apps are installed thanks to a system called Active Directory. It sounds like a small thing, but for companies it could be huge. Suddenly, there’s a lot less management that has to be done on-site.
Microsoft is hoping that by making it easier for businesses to setup and maintain Windows 10 devices they’re also making it easier to attract users. The theory is that Windows became such a bit hit because it was used in so many businesses. Once users were able to get that same experience at home, they did. Mostly, because they either already knew how to use it, or thought that having a personal machine running Windows would help them pick up skills for work too. It didn’t hurt that productivity tools like Office were available at home and at work too.
Microsoft announced Windows 10 earlier this year to small gathering of tech reporters and industry insiders. Today, we have a pretty complete picture of how Windows 10 will work for businesses. Whereas Windows 8 required users to relearn things they already knew, Windows 10 on devices with a mouse and keyboard won’t. Microsoft is putting the Start Menu back where it belongs, but also adding live tiles for users to interact with.
Read: What is Windows 10
Businesses will be able to create their own mini Windows Stores for app downloads, but that doesn’t mean they’ll need to employees how to use full-screen apps. Windows 10 will allow Windows Store apps to run in the Desktop alongside other apps like Apple’s iTunes or Microsoft’s own Windows Media Player. Again, what’s good for businesses is good for users, businesses didn’t seem interested in full-screen Windows Store apps and neither did users. By making Windows Store apps available in full-screen on touch devices and in the Desktop on devices with a mouse and keyboard, Microsoft is delivering the best experience for just about everyone.
Microsoft’s post about the changes coming in Windows 10 highlight another crucial change in their strategy. If you’re a user of Microsoft products today you are inundated with different stores. There’s one app store for Xbox One, another for Windows 8.1 and another for Windows Phone 8.1.
Microsoft says it plans to use Windows 10 to replace to replace Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8 on the Xbox One. When this happens, the Windows Store will become the single place that users can purchase apps from. Businesses will love it because that’s less infrastructure they have to manage – in theory. Users at home will love it because it’s the closest Microsoft will have ever come to offering an easy to use app store purchase model like Apple does for the iPhone and iPad.
Windows 10 isn’t expected to launch until sometime in mid to late 2015. Microsoft has confirmed that there’s a preview of Windows 10 coming with more features for users sometime in the New Year. Right now, its letting users download early versions tailored for small businesses.