Slow Down Windows 10 Development, You Say? (Premium)

I’ve argued for years that “Windows as a Service”---(WaaS), or what I think of as “Windows masquerading as a service” or, better still, “Windows as a disservice”---is untenable. And thanks to the passage of time, I now have the evidence to back it up: After failing to delight users with big new features in 2016-2017, Microsoft moved to shore up quality and fit and finish in 2018 and still fell flat on its face: Windows 10 versions 1803 and 1809 were the buggiest-ever releases of this system, leading to major public embarrassments for the software giant.

Surely, then, Microsoft would learn its lesson. And maybe, just maybe, we would move to a more logical and manageable system in which Windows 10 was only updated once a year. And in doing so, Microsoft could finally respond to the needs of its customers, none of whom---business and individuals alike---are interested in installing major new Windows versions twice every single year.


Instead, Microsoft, still reeling from its fumbling of the 1809 release, has decided to speed things up and further complicate Windows 10 development. As of this week, there are now three Windows 10 versions in active development: Windows 10 19H1, which will arrive as Windows 10 version 1903 sometime in the next few months, Windows 10 19H2, which is set for the second half of 2019, and now Windows 10 20H1, which, as the name implies, is scheduled for an early 2020 release over one year from now.

There’s no Windows team today per se. But the communications we’ve received recently from what I’ll call the Windows team troublingly echo those we used to receive from the Sinofsky-era Windows team, which never felt the need to justify its actions let alone explain what it was doing and why.

We’ve seen this behavior twice in the past week alone.

Last Friday, Microsoft released a new build of 19H1 that includes undefined and unexplained “technologies [that are] tailor-made for gaming.” Ignoring the fact that Windows has included “technologies tailor-made for gaming” since 1995 and WinG, the predecessor of DirectX, Microsoft offered no explanation at all for what those technologies are. They just offered a free game to play, temporarily and only to the lucky few who signed-up quickly, andit  will apparently use telemetry data and overt Insider feedback to determine how well it works. Whatever it is.

And then there’s this week. Yesterday, Microsoft released another new build of Windows 10 to the Insider Preview. But this time, the build targets Windows 10 20H1, a release Microsoft has never once mentioned publicly, either to Insiders or otherwise. That it is the third active Windows 10 version being actively developed at the time of this writing is both unprecedented and unwelcome. But Microsoft’s “explanation” for this release, its rationale for needing to do such a thing, is completely missing in action.

“Some things we are working on in 20H1 requi...

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