Microsoft will reveal what the “next generation” of Windows will look like on June 24.
Invites are being sent to the media for the launch event, in which Microsoft is expected to unveil its successor to Windows 10.
Microsoft recently dropped plans to launch Windows 10X, a simplified version of Windows that was being positioned as a rival to Chrome OS. The company said the work on that operating system would instead be folded into the main Windows operating system and we’re likely to see the fruits of that on June 24.
What form the “next-generation” Windows will take isn’t yet clear. When Microsoft launched Windows 10 back in 2015, it said it wasn’t planning to release another major version of the desktop operating system, but would instead continue to drip updates as and when features were developed.
Over the past few years, it has fallen into a twice yearly update schedule, with one major feature release per year and one minor update, in addition to the monthly security patches.
However, the most recent update ‘feature’ update to Windows 10 was a desperately damp squib with no significant features added, suggesting that developers had been diverted to a new project.
It’s possible that Microsoft will effectively draw a line under Windows 10 and release a “Windows 11”, as it has done with previous versions of Windows.
One remote possibility is that Microsoft delivers a cloud-based version of Windows, where a Windows desktop is streamed over the internet.
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This would have several advantages for Microsoft. First, it allows the company to expand the subscription model that has worked so successfully for Microsoft Office and services such as Xbox Games Pass. Second, it reduces the barrier of entry to a new operating system, as it wouldn’t require new PC hardware. Third, it allows Microsoft to utilise the Azure cloud computing platform that it’s heavily invested in over the past decade or more.
However, any move to deliver Windows via the cloud will greatly upset Microsoft’s PC partners who see the release of a new version of Windows as an opportunity to sell new hardware, even if recent Windows releases have been much less impactful than those of the Windows 95/98/XP era.