Windows 10X Delayed to 2021, Loses Win32 Support

Posted on July 20, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10X with 123 Comments

Citing multiple sources, Mary Jo Foley reports that Microsoft has delayed Windows 10X to Spring 2021 and won’t rollout a dual-screen version until 2022. (Update: Zac Bowden was the first to report this apparently, but Mary Jo independently confirmed it.)

As Foley notes, Windows 10X is not a new operating system. Instead, it is a more modular hybrid of what Microsoft now calls Windows 10 desktop, one that will offer a simpler user experience and a new container-based model for backward compatibility.

While Windows 10X was originally designed for familiar form factors like laptops and tablets, Microsoft in 2019 decided to push its use in more interesting dual-screen form factors in a bid to further differentiate it from Windows 10 desktop. But those plans hinged on too many moving parts, and with the core of Windows 10X both untested and unready, the firm decided to delay its release and focus on single-screen PCs earlier this year.

Foley’s report is the first update we’ve gotten since Microsoft announced the delay and refocus. She says that the latest plan is to deliver Windows 10X with new single-screen devices in early 2021 and that this first release will not include the Win32 container technology that provides backward compatibility with legacy desktop applications. Instead, this system will operate much like Windows 10 in S mode and will run Store and web apps only.

With this change, Win32 app support is now delayed to 2022 at the earliest. That year, Microsoft also expects to ship Windows 10X on new dual-screen PCs.

Even better, Foley has heard that Microsoft may be stepping back from the feature update cliff and will shift from the current twice-per-year schedule to a once-per-year schedule in 2021 so that it can put more engineering staff on Windows 10X.

“If that’s accurate, this would mean Microsoft will deliver Windows 10X releases in H1/spring seasons and new Windows 10 feature updates in H2/fall, moving forward,” she writes. “As I’ve reported previously, Microsoft is expected to bring some features it is building for Windows 10X, such as UX elements and possibly containerization and security technologies, over to regular Windows 10.”

Of course, Microsoft really moved to a once-per-year schedule last year since the H2 releases in 2019 and 2020 are/were both just cumulative updates with few or no new features. That Microsoft calls them feature updates is, of course, just semantics.

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Comments (123)

123 responses to “Windows 10X Delayed to 2021, Loses Win32 Support”

  1. ibmthink

    Soooo, without Win32, this seems like it will be DOA. Nice work Microsoft.

    • bart

      In reply to ibmthink:

      It will be as dead as ChromeOS. Oh, wait.... ;)

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to Bart:

        If MSFT tries to charge OEMs licensing fees for it, it'd be closer to death than Chrome OS.

        MSFT would be the only party likely to make no-Win32-support Windows 10X hardware.

      • michaelmdiv

        In reply to Bart:

        The difference between ChromeOS and Win10X is, as Paul has pointed out many times, if it looks like Windows, people will expect it to run Win32 apps. There is no expectation with ChromeOS that it would run anything but web or maybe Android apps.

        • melich13

          In reply to MichaelMDiv:

          I think if they put it only on niche devices and make that message clear, they may manage to make it work. If they comes out and just put it on a laptop, I think they’ll have problems. Launch a mini tablet. Launch a new wearable. Stuff like that that you wouldn’t expect to run Windows.

          • ibmthink

            In reply to melich13:

            That sounds like Windows Phone all over again though.

            The name "Windows" just creates an expectation that Win32 compatibility is there. After all: This is what differentiates Windows from ChomeOS. If it can't run Win32 apps, why should people prefer it over ChromeOS?

            • bart

              In reply to ibmthink:

              Where you go wrong with Windows Phone is that it required developers to create apps for a specific platform. Windows 10X will leverage the web. And a few UWP apps, but those are insignificant. The fact Google and MS together work hard on making PWA's a success should be hopeful IMHO.

              Why would one buy Win10X over ChromeOS? Simple, device management. Don't look at this too much from a consumer point of view. Microsoft's bread and butter is the enterprise. This might be much better for them in terms of security.

        • bart

          In reply to MichaelMDiv:

          Sure, but now you are talking about marketing, more than the usability of an OS. It is up to MS to get this right. I know, I am asking for a miracle. But they do happen you know :)

          • navarac

            In reply to Bart:

            Not when Microsoft is involved. 10X will fail as surely as RT & 10S, I believe.

          • evox81

            In reply to Bart:

            I can just imagine that marketing campaign... "It says Windows, but it's not really Windows... It's called Windows, but it's a different Windows... It looks like Windows, but it doesn't really 'do' Windows... It'll be just like Windows, except when it isn't... It'll do everything Windows does, except all the stuff it doesn't"

            Huge hit.

            Edit for clarity: The shade here is directed at Microsoft, not you.

            • bart

              In reply to evox81:

              Re: shade. Thanks! :)

              I think the Windows naming has to go. Windows 10X is still the development name. Not the final name as I understand it. Paul?

            • melich13

              In reply to evox81:

              Yeah, I understand. :) Maybe they should rename it then. Windows isn’t exactly a desired brand anyhow. I’m just dreaming here, but if they made a small but very premium ebook reader, a high fidelity portable music player running at maybe $500+, a wearable, and some note taking device... Very specific devices with little to no expectations and very small markets. Build brand confidence with these things. But as Paul and others have pointed out, this just isn’t something they really care about. They found their new business. I would think they’d want a new light OS to run in the cloud someday, but maybe the backend is enough for them.

  2. ontariopundit

    Does 10X run Google Chrome?

    No, it won't because Microsoft won't let Google Chrome into the Microsoft Store! Without Chrome any new OS from Microsoft is DOA.

    There is no market for a new operating system from Microsoft.

    What niche does it fill?

    Microsoft already provides Windows, the dominant desktop operating system. There's no point to competing with your own operating system.

    Apple provides the Mac, a desktop alternative to Windows. Those customers won't jump over to an OS that, after 8 years, still has few apps worth mentioning.

    Will it compete with iPads and iPhones which have captured the world's most profitable customers? No. It had NO developers worth mentioning compared to that ecosystem.

    What about Android? I guess there's a little bit of an opportunity there because, in a decade, Android has failed to mount a successful response to the iPad.

    Of course, the fact that Android, after a decade of trying still hasn't put a serious dent in Apple's iPad dominance suggests that that's an uphill battle for Microsoft.

    Why they keep wanting to throw the baby out with the bath water I don't understand. Windows is only good because it runs win32 apps. There simply aren't any good UWP apps, and now that they're deprecating UWP it just makes things worse.

    And then there are all those developers who, in under a decade will have to learn yet another set of technologies simply to keep making apps for Windows.

    The promise of Windows is build once, use for a long time. But that's not modern Windows.

    The best developers fled to iOS a decade ago, or they never bothered with Windows in the first place and cut their teeth on iOS.

    Microsoft needs to meet the needs of its existing customers and developers and needs to stop trying to damage Windows for the sake of being fashionable.

    • codymesh

      In reply to OntarioPundit:

      Even the new Microsoft Edge isn't in the store because it uses the same updating system as Chrome. Putting either browser in the Store would cause them to lose seamless updates.

      At the end of the day it isn't about Chrome, because people who rely on Chrome and mainly on webapps will actually do just fine - and enjoy the simplicity - with Windows 10X.

      It's about other apps the corresponding other usage scenarios.

      • tarnishedtinman

        In reply to codymesh: I thought the new Microsoft Edge was being updated with Windows itself now. Thought I read that somewhere on this site.

        • Paul Thurrott

          You did not. Microsoft Edge is being updated on the same schedule as Chromium/Chrome and separately from Windows. Legacy Edge *was* only updated when Windows 10 was updated, so twice per year typically.
      • ontariopundit

        In reply to codymesh:

        For most people Chrome is the internet. If they can't run Chrome, they won't use the computer. Sure, they can run Edge and get most of what Chrome offers, but that's not what they want, or even are familiar with.

        Ultimately, any new operating system which can't run Chrome will be perceived as a cheap device.

        Even though Edge is functionally equivalent to Chrome, for me the fact that Edge doesn't allow for browser login with any of my personal or professional emails is a non sequitur.

        I don't see any compelling reason for Microsoft to eliminate win32 apps. The very reason that Windows still is a success on the desktop are win32 apps, and Google Chrome (which happens to be a win32 app :).

        Take away one, or especially both, and you're left with nothing.

        Modern Windows offers no apps worth mentioning. Every time I venture into the Windows Store I find low quality apps, and, to add insult to injury, many of the best iOS or Android apps have never been brought to Windows or have long since been removed from the Windows Store.

        • codymesh

          In reply to OntarioPundit:

          lol all of this is what people used to say about Internet Explorer. But that didn't stop Google from trying to disrupt it. The job of Microsoft and all these companies is to compete, not cave in.

  3. hrlngrv

    Does 10X support Win32 desktop software packaged for and available through the MSFT Store? I believe 10S did, but I don't recall for sure.

  4. rmlounsbury

    This seems like Windows 10X has been re-oriented yet again as the Microsoft 365 OS focusing on cloud software/technologies and trying to move past the legacy of Win32. This is great if Microsoft wants to actually stick with a strategy and move this forward to release. I'll be curious to see if 10X ends up being marketed only/primarily to Business & Education markets or if Microsoft makes a broader consumer push.

    It seems really silly how much Microsoft has waffled on what exactly Windows 10X is. I imagine some of it has to do with the shakeup of Windows and it moving to under Panos Panay. But even with that it feels like Microsoft is a ship drifting in the night without any power in regard to the future of the Windows. That is a really disappointing notion especially given Apple's incredible WWDC announcements.

    Or, perhaps, we are seeing Microsoft really beginning to fully decentralize Windows as a platform all together.

  5. hrlngrv

    At this point how many Store apps are there?

    More precisely, if Windows 10X couldn't run Win32 software generally in 2021 because it'd lack a Win32 container, would it be able to run packaged desktop Win32 software from the Store?

    Without a Win32 component, how much more successful is Windows 10X likely to be than Windows RT 8.x? And how pissed off are people who buy new machines with Windows 10X likely to be when they find they can't run Win32 software?

  6. maktaba

    Another win for Apple Silicon.

  7. lvthunder

    So if it doesn't run Win32 does that mean it will or won't run the store version of iTunes. Aren't a lot of the better store apps Win32 apps in a container?

  8. Awhispersecho

    It's hard to believe they are still known as a software company. They are embarrassingly bad and incompetent at software, or almost anything else at this point. I feel like the only thing they get right anymore is their hardware.


    MS really needs to just cut the Windows umbilical cord, and introduce this a completely new OS.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to

      How much of its enterprise customer base would MSFT drive away by cutting the Windows umbillical cord?

      Dream on.


        In reply to hrlngrv:
        I agree Enterprise is as slow as a snail to move to the new (rightfully so). But if MS are serious about launching an OS without Win32 support, then they really are not building a next gen Windows OS but whole new OS. So drop the Windows handle, and stop the confusion.
        Hopefully, they learned their lesson from "Windows RT". Customers bought it thinking they were getting Windows, but shocked when they found out what they bought, and were really ticked off.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to

          providing an exciting new platform and App ecosystem

          The only lesson MSFT learned from Windows RT was that not even a desktop Office (with no VBA support) provided any reason for people to buy devices using it.

          An OS with Windows in its name which doesn't run Win32 software doesn't sell.

          OTOH, an OS without Windows in its name would be brand new, so also may not sell.

          If MSFT wants to establish a new OS, MSFT needs to be prepared to pay at least in US$ 10-figures to get ISVs to make software for it.

    • kevin_costa

      In reply to

      If they are launching 10X without Win32 support, they need to cut the 'Windows' name. It's simple as that. 10X's underpinnings are a major overhaul and modernization of the NT kernel. It's pretty much a new OS, even if it's based on a NT core (modernized through the years, of course - the so called 'OneCore'). It is like Android, a new OS with a (Linux) kernel born in 1991 (but modernized), and no one expects to run Linux apps on Android. The brand is the problem. The legacy past of this product is holding the platform back. Just call it EdgeOS or AzureOS and almost no one will complain of not running Windows apps. NT and Windows are not synonymous, they don't need to be tied forever.

    • blue77star

      In reply to

      What do you mean? They are going to use Windows 10x to stream Windows 10 from cloud, it is laughable but if they want to go that route so be it. What's even more tragic is that they cannot make run x86-x64 on Win32 OS because someone at Microsoft got this 'brilliant' idea of virtualizing x86-x64 apps in Win32 OS. Lol. It really made my day.

      What Microsoft really does not understand is that partners such as Intel, Nvidia, Amd and ton of others exist to sell hardware running on Win32 OS. If Microsoft really sees the future in streaming Windows and Apps from cloud to some low end shit show PC, all these companies will show a middle finger to Microsoft and move on to Linux so they can continue selling hardware and making money.


        In reply to blue77star:
        Microsoft is now first and foremost a "Cloud Services" company. Everything they are doing is aimed at moving the bar that way. They are appeasing Enterprise customers right now, as they gradually move everything to the cloud.

  10. rh24

    Second verse... Same as the first... Sounds like Windows RT redux.

  11. leonard.smith

    Can 2020 get any worse!

  12. crunchyfrog

    We should all just go back to MS-DOS.

  13. crp0908

    After losing Win32 support, Windows 10X is just 10S and RT all over again. When will Microsoft learn?

    Instead of adding resources to Windows 10 to stabilize the platform and fix issues that users complain about every time Windows 10 gets updated, Microsoft diverts those resources to work on an OS that no one is asking for. Do we really need another OS that can only run Windows store apps?

  14. kevin_costa

    We already saw what happened with special releases (reboots) of Windows (RT and S Mode) that doesn't have x86 support at all, spoilers: failed spectacularly. Even WOA, with limited x86 emulation has more chance of succeeding than 10X without Win32 support (and even that is struggling). MS insists on launching something half-baked instead of full-featured... If that's the case, another failure is in the horizon. They will never learn...

    • zicoz

      In reply to Kevin_Costa:

      The problem is not a lack of x86 support. There is a massive market of people that don't need x86 support.

      The problem is two-fold:

      Microsoft is unable to create and market something to consumers.

      Microsoft has swapped paths so many times that sys admins must be crazy to jump onto the "next great thing" Microsoft comes out with.

      Which means that "no one" is going to buy "the next Windows", which means no one is going to bother to develop for it, which again circles back to no one buying "the next Windows".

      And then we've not even begun to talk about the problems stemming from prioritization within the company. They have screwed up when it comes to prioritization, dev strategy, cost-cutting and quality. Not to mention the death nail of being a converged company.

      • ontariopundit

        In reply to zicoz:

        "There is a massive market of people that don't need x86 support."

        You are correct. There is a massive market and that market is already crowded and extremely well served by two groups of very successful incumbents, that have had a decade to consolidate their positions.

        Apple earns stunning profits with its Mac, iPhone and iPad computers, and Google's Android ecosystem has an iron grip on the rest of that market.

        Microsoft's Windows has its desktop dominance. That's going nowhere fast, but consumers overwhelming rejected Microsoft when mobile computing replace desktop computing as the most important type of computing device.

        We've now had over a decade of consolidation by Apple, and by the Android ecosystem. People are happy with these two classes of computing devices. Sure, Android may have extremely variable quality. Sure, Apple may lock you in, but, both these groups serve the needs of their customers quite well.

        Microsoft had its opportunity to take second spot behind Apple's iPhone in 2007, but they blew it. They've been chasing Apple ever since and they've never learned.

        I thought they were finally getting it and were going to fork Android to ensure a rich ecosystem of apps, but alas, they didn't.

        I would consider a Windows fork of Android as a device since it would have a rich ecosystem of apps. But, a Windows device that has no apps. Who are you kidding?

  15. omen_20

    This is a terrible decision. Just let it stay in the oven longer. If it launches without that support, people will form a negative impression of that desktop look and design. Microsoft needs to learn how to release a version 1.0 product.

    • ikjadoon

      No, no. See, Microsoft will launch 10X just like Google launched Allo: you release it half-baked, try to compete with WhatsApp and other entrenched competitors, and Allo's resounding success is proof of the fantastic minimum viable product (MVP) theory.

      This was Justin Uberti, co-lead for Allo at Google, on September 30th, 2016. Remember, Allo was a messaging application developed at a trillion-dollar-valuation tech giant that launched without dozens of core features (no desktop app, no Duo integration, no file sharing, no quick reply, terrible message search, etc.):

      User: "so impatient. They obviously have never coded. "It's been 5 whole weeks and all of my demands haven't been met! What gives?!"

      Justin, co-lead for Allo: "exactly"

      They shut down Allo three years later. ?? Guess what part of Google Justin now works under? Really. Take a guess.

  16. kjb434

    Can't say I'm surprised.

  17. F4IL

    So, all the complexity and spaghetti of Windows but without the features that make Windows matter in the first place?

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to F4IL:

      MSFT REALLY doesn't want to acknowledge and accept the consequences that it's absolute GREATEST SUCCESS is the volume of 3rd party Win32 software from which MSFT derives NO ONGOING REVENUES. IOW, MSFT hates it and yearns to kill it off. Sadly, it's such a success that a MSFT OS which doesn't support it has considerably less chance of success than Linux.

      The karmic justness of this state of affairs for MSFT is breathtaking.

  18. tarnishedtinman

    Reading all the concern here about Win32 support in future versions of Windows is amusing.

    Why is Win32 support important?

    1. Is it because the computer that someone bought 15 years ago can't run 64bit Windows?
    2. Is it because some "must have" application hasn't been ported to 64bits after 15 years? Is that developer still in business? (Why would anyone trust their business to some application that isn't even supported anymore?)
    3. Is it because Microsoft hasn't ported their productivity applications (I am looking at you Microsoft Office) to be 64bits and easy to cross compile to other platforms (Notice I said 64bits and easy to cross compile). Weird how Apple claimed that MS Office was already running on Apple Silicon. Do we think there is Win32 there? Meanwhile Surface X, still running MS Office in a Win32 penalty box.
    4. Even our phones are running 64bit software.

    So why is Win32 still important?

    • Paul Thurrott

      Win32 is just a brand, and it refers to a software API that is both 32-bit and 64-bit. It's not 32-bit only.
    • leonard.smith

      In reply to tarnishedtinman:

      MS Office versions running on other non-PC platform do not have 100% feature parity with the Win32 version. The corporate environment strongly favours the path of least resistance, so they’re more likely to just stay with what they know

    • RobertJasiek

      In reply to tarnishedtinman:

      99% of the software I use is Win32. In theory, all software could be rewritten. In practice, I expect 95% not to be rewritten because it is old, big or the underlying multi-platform interpreter is unlikely to be rewritten. I also use old software because it is better than newer versions or newer alternative software is unavailable or newer program versions each cost literally up to ca. €1,000 more than the old, good enough versions.

      Another question is whether I want a simplified Windows. Yes if simplification only means consistency (GUI and code). No if simplification means loss of: functionality for file management (including GUI and command lines); choice of software; configurable security (including user access rights for files and folders, and software execution rules); drivers.

  19. thejoefin

    Losing Win32 support is a major feature miss. However if 10X has something to offer... like performance and battery life then it might be fine. Microsoft has yet to give UWP a fair value proposition. "Hey Windows devs, rewrite your applications for basically no benefit!" Instead the proposition should be: "rewrite your applications to UWP which can run on Windows and our new LiteOS"

    If the same laptop could get: double battery life, instant on, seamless background updates, and a super responsive UX with 10X then I think people might put it on their secondary devices (or have a reason to get a secondary 10X device).

    • Paul Thurrott

      No, no, no. No sane dev would ever rewrite a Win32 app in UWP. You do that over in something cross-platform. Web, probably.
      • thejoefin

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        There are so many small and medium sized business with LOB apps written in .NET which could be easily shifted over to UWP. Obviously rewritting everything for web would be ideal, but these LOB apps are usually built by one person or a very small team. Shifting over to web would be a massive undertaking and likely out of the question for most companies.

        It would an interesting case study (or piece of reporting) to talk to some of these small business with old software and see how they support the codebase and what their options are for keeping their apps working well into the future.

        • Paul Thurrott

          UWP is not the path forward. It's just another way to lock an app into a single platform and is thus a huge mistake.
          • thejoefin

            In reply to paul-thurrott:

            Sure, but Microsoft products seem to succeed because they are practical not principled. The argument you are making is a true.

            But there are still thousands of companies looking to leverage their portable class libraries to a UI framework which works better on first line devices . As Leonard.smith mentions, .NET is the platform. Business logic is portable between UI frameworks, so the lock-in would only be with the UI and App Lifecycle code.

            Translating the code to be a a PWA web app would be a monumental undertaking for small (or singular) developer team

          • leonard.smith

            In reply to paul-thurrott:

            100% agree. BUT, what about .NET 5 (.NET Core) apps?

            On another forum post, we spoke of whether the 'Win32' grouping includes or excludes .NET apps. .NET 5 is cross platform, which is important considering how critically the developer community observes MSFT platform lock-in attempts. If Windows 10x provides a first class container for .NET 5 apps, then there may well be an less problematic upgrade path for existing .NET Framework LOB applications. Consider that MSFT putting in a a lot of effort into making WPF and Windows Forms designers compatible with .NET 5.

            By the time Windows 10x v1.0 drops, the .NET Core (3.1 and 5) app model will be well established for production use.

            So, I suppose the question is: Will Windows 10x have support for .NET 5 apps on day 1? Would love to know...

            • Paul Thurrott

              In reply to leonard.smith:

              I'm a big fan of .NET (and C#) and of Microsoft's recent strategy of making .NET cross-platform. But .NET is basically plumbing. I'm not sure it's going to change the world.

              Regarding .NET 5+ on Windows 10X, I'm not sure anyone has said explicitly, but I would assume so.

  20. olditpro2000

    Regarding the naming of Windows 10X, I agree with many here who think it should be called something different, since it won't run Win32 apps. Edge OS, Surface OS, Microsoft OS, Zune OS, etc. were among the suggestions I saw.

    What we all forgot (myself included) is that the intention is for 10X to run Win32 apps by 2022, making it unlikely that Microsoft drops the Windows branding. However, 10X may confuse people. Is 10X better than 10? Does the X stand for something like extra or extended?

    My bet is they rename Windows 10X to Windows 365 to tie it in to Microsoft 365, Office 365, etc. They have a lot of cachet around the 365 branding and may look to capitalize on it. "Everything is better when you use a Windows 365 device to access Microsoft 365 Apps. Use your Windows 365 device to connect to your legacy Windows 10 apps running on Cloud PC in Azure. Get the rest of the Microsoft 365 suite for X dollars per month." and so on.

    Maybe they'll do the same for Xbox. We already know GamesPass Ultimate will include xCloud. "Xbox 365 combines Live Gold, GamesPass Ultimate, and xCloud. Add it to your Microsoft 365 Personal subscription for only Y dollars per month!"

    I'm not saying I love it, I'm just saying I believe it's possible.

  21. javial

    Windows 10X the new Windows NT?! I tell you Paul in a past comment, the contanerized Win32 in Windows 10X never has the perfomance to real runs applications like Photoshop, Premiere, 3ds Max, etc. Maybe runs well Office like applications, but not more. Will never be powerfull knowing the actual Microsoft limited capacity to develop and program Windows and all other applications. Its not the same Microsoft and not the same Microsoft developers when Microsoft develops NT in the 90's. It also not have the same passion, motivation, ideas, inspiration and not want to do things right, powerful, stable that runs best and more quickly than any other platform.

    Now, announcing the initially lack of support of Win32, first confirms how bad is running the contanerized Win32 and probably Microsoft has no resources to fix this. Probably it will be able to improve the performance a little and get it to work minimally to get to handle half decently at least some Office type application. But no more.

    Second, launching Windows 10X without support of Win32 makes the Windows 10X brand as a limited and not powerful product. When one year later adds the Win32 support the nobody cares or want it because everybody thinks of it as a limited and not powerful product. The damage to the product and the brand is already done.

    Do you still think about Windows 10X as the new NT?

    • Paul Thurrott

      I have always thought that Windows 10X had the ability to become the next NT, yes. Still do. What I wrote was that "I feel that 10X has the chance to simply become Windows ... if successful, it will absolutely replace the thing that we think of as Windows today." The key words there are "chance" and "if." But this has always hinged on two things, the performance and compatibility of the Win32 container. Both were lacking when I wrote that and both apparently triggered the delays.
      • javial

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        I'm very sure, but this is only my opnion, that seeing what Microsoft is doing since Windows 8, Windows 10X will not be successful mainly because of the performance and compatibility of the Win32 container. The quality of its products since that, leaves much to be desired. Also see what Microsoft do with Windows 10 since its launch and what others do in less time like Apple, Google Android, etc.

  22. bkkcanuck

    I am not sad to see the 'indefinite' (2 years, not top priority - so it is likely to slip again) hold on the duo devices. I have seen a lot of 'it has all sorts of uses', but I failed to see a simple story about what the device excels at. Introducing a new device needs a convincing story about it's use. (i.e. it is not so good at many things - rather than really good at one thing - either it is heavy than you need when you want to use it as a tablet (not at a desk) or it is half as good as a laptop... but not just that one convincing story.

    I do think the repriortization is the correct decision, but it the issue is that it should have been the priority at the beginning so now you have a situation where you have announced something many years in advance, you have missed the delivery... and now the developers (the few that were excited about developing or updating an app) having a now slipping (with potential to slip further) target. In the end, Microsoft has to have a foundation where it makes it easier to transition to new hardware -- and to make it remotely possible you have to drop support for long outdated technology.

    Simply put they are seen as floundering and there is now less incentive to be an early adopter from a development point of view. You also have the chicken and egg situation with software since Microsoft has a lot of developers that are stuck or stagnated. They need to figure out how (if possible) to motivate the developers to migrate over. Microsoft needs to instill confidence that they will pick the right direction and then get all the fish swimming in the same direction for that strategic outcome... but they seem to be shooting themselves in the food and the fish are just all going to swim around in different directions...

    Win32 support may be a requirement for corporations, but outside of corporations you really want the Win32 to die... Not surprised, but disappointed that Microsoft cannot seem their act together when it comes to long term planning.

  23. billzeal

    I still think Windows 10X is a great idea. The important thing is to make it really good and not rush it out to early ( as usual) and ending up being at best, Excitingly Average.

  24. codymesh

    I understand the need to make a simpler OS that appeals to the people who are turned off by the insanity and complexity of regular Windows, but this is a worrying development. They've spent two years on this and this is what they have to show for it?

    Does this mean they're ditching support for Win32 apps in the store as well? That would really turn this into another Windows RT, and I think Microsoft remember know how that turned out.

    • kb923689

      In reply to codymesh:

      They've been trying to make Windows RT happen for 10 years now. It's not going to happen. Microsoft should scrap all these projects and release a modern Windows 7.

    • ontariopundit

      In reply to codymesh:

      "I understand the need to make a simpler OS that appeals to the people who are turned off by the insanity and complexity of regular Windows, but this is a worrying development. They've spent two years on this and this is what they have to show for it?"

      Windows is already simple enough. I don't see the need to go this route.

      For that matter, they've gone down this rabbit hole so many times before and both consumers and pundits have rejected each iteration for almost the same reasons: Windows RT (2012); Windows 8.0 (2012); Windows 10 S (2018).

      Why doesn't Microsoft's Windows team learn from their past mistakes? Developers have abandoned modern Windows because there is no money to be made servicing low cost Windows devices, owned by unprofitable owners. The money is to be made off professionals (who use "real" Windows), or iOS owners. Owners of cheap Windows devices simply aren't profitable enough.

      #1 The world already has a great touch device in the form of an iPad. Windows is simply replicating the iPad, but with a fraction of the developers that Apple's iPad enjoys, and with a touch interface that just doesn't cut it the way that the iPad's does.

      #2 Windows is great because of its rich ecosystem of win32 applications. Each of these iterations of Windows failed to recognize that fact, and tried to eliminate win32.

      Ultimately each of these iterations of Windows was perceived as cheap and ineffective because it couldn't run real applications, or, in the case of Windows 8.0, tried to hide real applications and privilege UWP.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to codymesh:

      Yes they have spent two years on this, but with how many developers? It's a lot different of a story if it's 10 developers compared to say 500 developers. The other story I read here somewhere is that they are switching Windows 10 to update once a year so they could spend more time on 10X.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to lvthunder:

        Yes they have spent two years on this, but with how many developers?

        Why would potential home/leisure PC customers care how many developer? OTOH, should be obvious why they'd focus on how long it takes MSFT to complete Windows 10X.

        Gotta wonder: for most people, how would they compare the perceived value of Windows 10X unable to run Win32 software vs Chrome OS able to run Linux Flatpaks or Android apps.

  25. ZeroPageX

    They are actually shipping another RT/10S? Who in their right mind would buy any device with that OS on it, besides of course MS techie fanatics? It won't run Win32 until they add it a whole year later, and by then, who will care? Then Microsoft will dump yet another attempt at a new OS. What a monumental waste of time, effort, and money. I can't imagine the frustration of being an engineer on these projects. If they are serious about this product, why not wait until it's ready?

  26. ponsaelius

    Another “lost decade” of client computing coming. Maybe they will just update legacy Windows for business and forget the rest.

  27. leonard.smith

    Microsoft does not have the 'street cred' to make a dent in the mobile/thin client OS space.

    As a replacement for legacy Windows 10 with its inherent OS update and design flaws (priority 1), coupled with a modernized application model (priority 2), it could conceivably provided a pathway that would keep the faithful engaged. Over time the dependency on Win32 will naturally drop away. Without Win32 on the start line (is the 2022 date really believable!) and you're back to wondering what market need it's trying to meet.

    Maybe it's time for MSFT to bite the bullet and go all out on Android. Focus on application and cloud based services.

  28. navarac

    So it's more or RT and Windows 10S / S mode then. What could possibly go wrong? I am definitely upping my use of Linux now.

    • bart

      In reply to navarac:

      The big difference is that RT and 10S both required developers to create specific apps (UWP) to make these platforms a success. Win10X leverages the web, like ChromeOS.

    • eric_rasmussen

      In reply to navarac:

      Yep. I switched to macOS. It's got a similar foundation to Linux except it runs the Adobe apps I need for my job. I'm so tired of the treadmill of insanity that Microsoft is on. Without Win32 support, a lot of printers, scanners, and audio gear won't work correctly (again). No Steam, no Adobe XD, no thank you.

      Also, I thought they were deprecating UWP and the Windows Store? Are those things being un-deprecated now?

  29. Scsekaran

    So, Windows 10X is UWP & PWA Web apps only. What about Office- Web versions or native UWP versions? May be they should have persisted with Windows RT or Windows in S mode rather than abandoning it.

    If they persisted with Windows RT, they would have much better App support and ARM support as well. Right idea but absolutely shambolic execution & decision making

    • Paul Thurrott

      I assume this works like 10S does, that it can come with desktop apps like Office but you can't add more later. Win32 is obviously still in the system, it has to be.
      • hrlngrv

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        Win32 software could only be preinstalled/bundled with Windows 10X. Win32 desktop software available in the MSFT Store couldn't be installed under Windows 10X?

        If you mean only preinstalled/bundled, then just like Office, Notepad, IE in Windows RT, meaning Windows 10X would start off as Windows RT 2.0.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Scsekaran:

      Aren't the WinRT and UWP APIs different? Isn't UWP as much of a departure from WinRT as Windows Phone 8 was from Windows Phone 7.5? Presumably the decision to part ways from WinRT to UWP wasn't arbitrary and capricious, which would imply WinRT was in some sense a mistake. If so, MSFT couldn't have persisted with Windows RT other than moving on to Windows 10 RT/Windows RT 10 (who knows what it would have been called?), but by 2015 no OEM was going to buy Windows RT license kits, and MSFT had become desperate to chuck their own Surface RTs on the dung heap of history.

  30. dan1986ist

    Wonder if there will be an Insider program for Windows 10X like there is for regular Windows 10?

  31. André Kittler

    it different from 10S because the start menu is the center.

    Sure, this should be enough to make this work this time.

  32. RobertJasiek

    So what is Windows 10X? Maybe RT the fifth. Maybe light Windows as a model of how clean Windows could be. Maybe a competitor for Chrome OS. Maybe a desparate answer to Apple's strategy. Maybe a motivator for Intel to build better x86 chips when the threat is that WOA might become more than a joke. Microsoft does not know what 10X shall be so in the end it will be DOA. Even worse: good hardware might appear but sink together with missing functionality of 10X or its premature death. You know, like another Surface Mini or losing 7bn on Nokia.

  33. bart

    I am excited for Windows 10X. Why? At the moment I try to use as many PWA's as possible. Ie Outlook (client) and the Mail app are replaced by Outlook PWA via Edge Canary. The same goes for Twitter, my logbook, news apps, Spotify and a few others. Do I hate myself? Maybe :) But it is nice to have a clean OS not being messed up by Win32 code.

  34. melich13

    Well, I hope they can keep these goals. Do you think this is Panos getting in there and putting order to things?

  35. brduffy

    Why can't they just develop something until they are reasonably sure that it is going to work and then inform us of it?

    • fpalmieri

      In reply to brduffy:

      They need developer / Software OEM support - Apple has a much smaller ecosystem of developers and not as much concern with corporate applications developed for in house use. Microsoft/Windows needs to communicate to the developer / business customers in a much more transparent way than Apple or Google/Android.

      • ikjadoon

        In reply to fpalmieri:

        Microsoft cannot get their own Win32 applications to run well in Windows 10X, as reported by Mary Jo Foley. Office was the offending application if you can believe it.

        A Microsoft application running in a Microsoft container on a Microsoft operating system.

        It's not just "developer support", though that's also a major failure: it's likewise genuinely difficult and painful to adapt Win32.

        To their cloud business customers, Microsoft seems to be doing fine. I suspect if MS was started today, they'd never touch client / consumer operating systems running directly on baremetal client / consumer hardware.

  36. soundersfan

    Oh the puns: "hinged on too many moving parts"

  37. blue77star

    If they position this against Chrome OS it has a chance of success. The problem is Windows name in it. They have to lose it so people do not treat it and expect to run as Windows...Win32 apps and all that. Microsoft should really drop the name Windows when it comes to ARM and call it something else like they dropped Internet Explorer and went with Edge. I am just saying...

    • ikjadoon

      And that's the worst part: 10X isn't even ARM! 10X is still x86. Microsoft cannot get Win32 applications to run on x86 versions of Windows. Say that three times and weep.

      10X is, without a doubt, their poor ChromeOS competitor. They have the Play Store, 10X will have the Microsoft Store.

      It's not just the name: it *looks* like Windows in many ways. It uses the exact same Microsoft Store available on full-fat Windows 10. Everything is confusing, as Microsoft intends.

  38. will

    This currently lines up with the conference schedules, Build for the 10X stuff and Ignite for the Win10 business side. However the conferences might just change as well.

  39. hellcatm

    10x does have to be thought of as a different OS so a name change would be good. Maybe Notwin? lol Or just 10X. I don't think it should be EdgeOS because the people may think its run on Edge like ChromeOS is run on Chrome. I also don't think it should be called SurfaceOS because people would think its going to be on all Surface devices. ContainerOS maybe? Or just ContainOS?

    I wonder if they're pushing Win32 support because its not running fast enough on ARM processors and the lack of 64bit support and they hope that by 2022 they'll have all of this worked out? OR maybe they're going to stream apps on to the OS? I for the past few years thought Windows would turn into a cloud OS, but maybe just the apps will? Or maybe thats where it'll start?

  40. glenn8878

    No one will buy it without Win32 support. It will likely not work properly without real world usage so delaying it for dual monitors makes sense, but it doesn't make sense to release an OS that's equivalent to Mode S or Windows RT.

    They need to just call it a Beta product until 2022.

  41. txag

    There is a chance, but (1) as others have noted, it cannot be called Windows, and (2) The UI must be enough different so nobody can possibly confuse it for a Windows computer. Maybe this is where the Windows 8 start screen pays off, finally!

    Then again, marketing its security and its simplicity to use and manage could be seen as an implicit knock on Windows itself.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to txag:

      Then again, marketing its security and its simplicity to use and manage could be seen as an implicit knock on Windows itself.

      I can see the competitors spinning it as Finally, a quasi-secure Windows.

  42. tripleplayed

    No win32 support when it first releases? Who would want this? Who is forcing Microsoft to release this when its not ready? Talk about setting up something to be an absolute failure.

    • bkkcanuck

      In reply to TriplePlayed:

      What they need to do is get a product to market that has the essentials of what customers are looking for - for that platform niche. They can have their own apps ready (I assume), and then if they were smart they should figure out the applications with the widest impact - and offer incentive packages to those companies or individuals to make it work natively without Win32 support. If they can throw 30 million to a single personality for their Mixer platform (Ninja?) then cancel it - they can do the same or similar to many developers. Probably will be cheaper in the long run (especially if they can make it successful)... because failure should not be an option.

    • bleached

      In reply to TriplePlayed:

      They won't release it. This is the pre-cancellation announcement.

    • zicoz

      In reply to TriplePlayed:

      What is the market for something like this with win32 support?

  43. brisonharvey

    This is actually the most logical way forward for Microsoft. They have the ability to stream apps in a way that Apple never could. Apple had to herd their developers into the same programming environment for them to build a sustainable way to move to a new platform. Windows 10X is a similar way of moving forward for Microsoft. Streaming the apps is how Microsoft can move forward in a significant way.

  44. Scsekaran

    Microsoft had 8 year lead over apple in creating Unified OS(Fridge/Toaster), UWP and ARM support and they blew it step by step. They make Steven Sinofsky look like a Genius. Or may be he is!

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Scsekaran:

      In one respect Sinofsky might have been correct: maybe the ONLY way to make Windows succeed on non-PC devices (and tablets which could be used as PCs should be considered PCs) required inuring PC users to the new UI so that the same (or very similar) UI on other devices would be familiar even if not loved.

  45. olditpro2000

    I'm assuming this means Surface Neo is delayed as well. It seems crazy that they showed it in 2019 but now won't ship it until 2022, unless they plan to release a special edition of 10X with Win32 support just for Neo sometime later in 2021. I can't imagine them releasing a premium device without Win32 support.

    RT and S Mode went over like lead balloons; this feels like a repeat. Who is that eager for a single-screen 10X device that doesn't run Win32 apps? Perhaps educational customers are asking for it as a Chromebook alternative?

    One release of 10 per year would be great if true.

  46. sevenacids

    Must be frustrating for Paul to hear about this. I'm with you. Microsoft may never change.

    • Paul Thurrott

      The Windows "team" these days is like a Three Stooges skit where they keep running in cirles, bumping into each other, and "yoinking" each other in the face in retaliation.
  47. lvthunder

    They should copy Apple and not release Windows 10X until Win32 support is there. Imagine if Apple released the Apple Silicone Apps without Rosetta.

  48. jackb

    Doomed to fail without Win32 support.

  49. Tim Lowes

    Windows, Windows RT, Windows S mode, Windows on ARM, Windows 10X. Microsoft needs to stop the insanity and keep the Windows brand for Windows (Win32). Clean up the UI/UX inconsistencies, reduce and simplify the SKUs, and remove as much old cruft as possible (manually adding a printer defaults to a LPT port and the A: drive for the drivers. Honestly!!). Maintain it and ensure users have faith in the Microsoft/Windows brands.

    Create a new OS (Linux or NT kernel) with a new name (SurfaceOS ?), UI, architecture, whatever, with no expectation for supporting legacy Win32 code. Base all future desktop/laptop/mobile innovation around this. Simplify the App development model. When the container technology is ready, then add support for legacy Win32 apps if possible and necessary.

    Here's hoping they have some internal or external skunkworks projects to figure this out. Something not tied to the Windows group.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Tim_Lowes:

      Create a new OS (Linux or NT kernel) with a new name (SurfaceOS ?), UI, architecture, whatever, with no expectation for supporting legacy Win32 code.

      If the new OS were based on a Linux kernel, how long before someone would try putting wine on it?

      What value does MSFT provide for home/leisure computing if Win32 isn't supported? That is, for home/leisure computing, is the value for most users having an OS with a MSFT brand, or the ability to run the exact same software they've been running for the better part of a decade or perhaps for decades?

      No one is dying for a brand spanking new OS which can't run Win32 software even if MSFT made that OS.

      • Paul Thurrott

        It's possible that Surface Duo is the first step in that direction and that Android is the OS.
      • Tim Lowes

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        I agree, Microsoft doesn't currently provide much value for home/leisure computing. Win32 isn't required for that. However, they could possibly provide considerable value in the future. They need to be thinking 5-10 years out instead of today and next year. It will take many years for business and consumers to transition away from the legacy bits, but providing an exciting new platform and App ecosystem may help to get people engaged and interested in making the move. These half-hearted attempts are useless and do more damage to the Microsoft/Windows brand.

        No one is dying for a brand spanking new OS which can't run Win32 software even if MSFT made that OS.

        I agree, but that doesn't mean there isn't a future platform opportunity for them to define and create. They just need to stop with these pointless, brain dead, half-assed attempts to get people engaged.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to Tim_Lowes:

          It will take many years for business and consumers to transition away from the legacy bits

          You think business would willingly accept such a transition, do you?

          providing an exciting new platform and App ecosystem

          That'll go more smoothly than it did for Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile? Why?

          All things considered, I'll begin to believe MSFT has a future with an OS which doesn't run Win32 software just as soon as it rolls out a version of Excel for that OS which can do EVERYTHING the current Win32 desktop version can do, including use functions in arbitrary DCOM DLLs and provide full VBA support. I'm not holding my breath.

          Now, if you mean there should be separate workplace and home/leisure Windows versions, I agree completely. Until MSFT does that, MSFT's enterprise customers, who provide MSFT the lion's share of its revenues, will continue to call ALL the shots.

          • tim_lowes

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            You think business would willingly accept such a transition, do you?

            That all depends on how it is done. If done over time with care and planning and engagement with the customers then yes. There will be those that complain, grumble and resist and possibly even leave the eco-system, but honestly where are they going to go? Apple, Oracle, IBM, Google? Nope. They'll need to accept it eventually because they don't have a choice frankly.

            I realize I'm simplifying things here, but the success of a platform transition is really dependent on the details around how it is done. Anchoring their future to legacy technology will kill their platform in the long run. In regards to supporting old COM dlls, VBA macros, and the disaster that is MFC, well necessity is the mother of invention. If it is a critical and big enough problem then a solution will be found.

            • hrlngrv

              In reply to Tim_Lowes:

              where are they going to go? Apple, Oracle, IBM, Google? Nope. They'll need to accept it eventually because they don't have a choice frankly.

              You left out the one real possibility: Linux.

              Linux can't manage all the automation (OLE) customization some Windows software provides, but it provides a lot. It can also run wine in a container which can in turn run a very great part of Win32 software. Finally, for someone with a job like mine, which involves databases, statistics and infrequent technical writing, with the exception of MS Office, everything else I use is available under Linux. I figure people whose jobs revolve around MS Office and Adobe software may have only Windows and macOS to choose between. For nearly everything else, Windows isn't necessary.

              Finally, there's the uncomfortable (for MSFT) reality that many, perhaps most, large enterprises have been moving as much as they can to their intranets over the last 2 decades. Everything in the intranet where I work may render differently in IE, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, but it functions the same. It also functions the same with a VPN connection between my employer's servers and my Linux home PC using non-MSFT browsers.

              What binds enterprises to Windows are (1) MSFT's support for their needs, (2) MSFT's server-based products and services, (3) MS Office, Visual Studio and/or Adobe software, (4) inertia.

              the success of a platform transition is really dependent on the details around how it is done

              Indeed, and MSFT has tried a few times now, with WinRT in Windows 8.x, though that was more for phones while MSFT still believed they had a chance to SELL OS licenses to phone hardware makers, and UWP + MSFT Store.

              MSFT has no useful corporate experience for managing a transition away from Win32. They have a lot of failure, but have they learned from those failures?

              necessity is the mother of invention. If it is a critical and big enough problem then a solution will be found

              Let's reinvent the wheel!

  50. basic sandbox

    If apps can only be installed from the app store, this seems to be a great security improvement that would be attractive to many businesses. Wouldn't these computers would be immune from ransomware?