Redmond is pulling out all the stops on its Windows 10 launch. Microsoft will roll out its flagship software on July 29 in 190 countries as a free upgrade and it will come pre-installed on new PCs and tablets.
Windows 10 is equipped with the personal assistant Cortana, the new Microsoft Edge browser, and an Xbox app. Microsoft promises a faster, more secure, and more compatible operating system. You may have heard all that before, but here’s the new twist: Microsoft is tapping “fan” engagement.
“We will host global fan celebrations, join thousands of retailers to help customers upgrade to Windows 10, and welcome the newest generation of Windows fans via a new global advertising campaign and through online content,” said Yusuf Mehdi, a senior vice president at Microsoft.
Celebrations and Prizes
The celebration includes over 5 million Windows Insiders, people who played a role in developing Windows 10, at special events in 13 cities around the world. The celebrations will feature experiential demos, hands-on training and even entertainment.
Microsoft has also partnered with retailers, including Best Buy, Staples, and Walmart, to roll out easy upgrade programs. And Tech Bench services will offer support and data migration services to consumers who are upgrading. Some Microsoft Stores, meanwhile, will offer prizes on July 29, along with free in-store workshops. Then there’s the new Upgrade Your World plan.
“Upgrade Your World is a new year-long initiative to celebrate those who inspire and empower others, led by our vision to help people achieve more through technology and in celebration of the Windows 10 launch,” said Mehdi, who also explained that Microsoft is investing $10 million in cash to help nonprofits upgrade.
Windows Update for Business
All the celebrating is fine and good. But what about enterprises that are still confused about the new security updating paradigm? Along with all of the new features and improvements, Chris Goettl, product manager with IT management software and solutions firm Shavlik, told us there have been growing concerns around these changes and the introduction of Windows Update for Business.
“Regardless of what you may have heard, these changes are not all bad. Microsoft is trying to deliver two important things to the Windows user with these changes: accelerated release of security updates while retaining stability and faster delivery of new features for the user,” Goettl said. “Microsoft is introducing branches, or rings, that will allow machines to receive updates on different intervals.”
Depending on your license level, you will have access to either more or fewer of these branches. Goettl explained that the fastest of these branches is for those with insider accounts, who can choose to receive the updates before they reach the rest of the market.
“In a corporate environment this may be too aggressive, depending on the existence of legacy apps that may be more sensitive to updates. That is why Microsoft has created the Current Branch for Business,” Goettl explained. “This branch will be updated every four to six months, at which time users would need to take all updates included in the branch to move up to the new Current Branch. This gives administrators time to evaluate the next branch to ensure they have worked out any major issues before pushing the bulk of production systems up.”