What’s Microsoft Up To?
Microsoft is clearly trying to capture the education market, particularly the K-12 schools, which has been dominated by Google and its Chromebooks for several years. Windows 10 S is specifically designed for users such as students and teachers. It offers a number of benefits for a streamlined and stress-free usage, including the ease of management. Other benefits include:
- Lightweight operating system
- Less than five seconds of boot time from a hybrid shutdown state, which helps increase class usage time
- No third-party application installations, reducing the threat of malware
- Restricts browser and search engine usage to Edge and Bing for consistency
- A “Set-Up School” app, which facilitates configuration creation and uses USB drives for provisioning
- Free Office 365 with Microsoft Teams for productivity and collaboration
- Minecraft Education edition for extended learning opportunities
- Microsoft Intune for Education for full mobile device management (MDM) capability
- BitLocker for encryption and enhanced device security
- Full support for offline use (compared to Google Chromebooks, which require access to Wi-Fi)
Should You Use Windows 10 S in Your Organization?
Will enterprise customers want to embrace Windows 10 S in their organizations? Small businesses? Perhaps. It could be a good fit for small businesses with limited staff and an absence of on-premise infrastructure, particularly if third-party applications are not a factor and Office 365 is the business productivity tool of choice. Windows 10 S does include Microsoft Intune, which could be beneficial for companies using the cloud-based MDM. The restriction against the installation of third-party applications could significantly reduce the incidence of rogue application installation and reduce calls to IT support to fix performance issues and malware infestations that could impact security.
But for larger organizations—including higher education institutions—Windows 10 S will fall short on far too many basics to be considered seriously. The inability to join an on-premise domain is itself a showstopper for nearly all enterprises. Windows 10 S would also never get out of the starting gate in larger businesses due to lack of support for third-party and in-house applications. There are countless lesser considerations (lockdown to Edge and Bing), but those are irrelevant due to the domain and application issues.
Microsoft will definitely challenge Google in the education market with Windows 10 S. They’ll look to compete with Chromebooks as more affordable low-end devices are released that support the new OS. Businesses that don’t need to deploy it company-wide may find small pockets where it fits. All these markets are evolving rapidly, though, so there is a lot that remains to be seen with any of today’s technologies. I suspect that Microsoft Windows 10 S has a bright future—just not in the enterprise.
[Editor’s note: This piece was first published in VMblog.com.]