back to article Hold on to your aaSes: Yup, Windows 10 'as a service' is incoming

Another year, another round of Windows 10 updates – most likely 1803 in March, and 1809 in September or thereabouts. The company calls this "Windows as a service", the idea being that users get a constant flow of improvements. The advantage for Microsoft is that it can begin to escape its legacy prison, where keeping …

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  1. Spacedinvader

    Who didn't see this coming?

    I wonder how long it'll be before there's a monthly subscription charge...

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Who didn't see this coming?

      Yep.

      The company calls this "Windows as a service", the idea being that users get a constant flow of improvements.

      The 'service' bit is the giveaway.

      Microsoft does nothing without extracting lucre when it comes to services.

      "For only $99/year we can keep your PC uptodate."

      Don't forget to read the 9999 page EULA along with a legal representative so that you can find out that the EULA precludes you from taking legal action when the brick your PC with an update OR you forget to keep your Credit Card details current and your 'service' periods expires.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Who didn't see this coming?

        "Microsoft does nothing without extracting lucre"

        Well they are a business, that's kind of their raison d'être.

      2. Dave K Silver badge

        Re: Who didn't see this coming?

        And yet Microsoft don't realise that many people don't want an endless stream of "improvements" - especially when these involve lengthy installations (during which time the PC is unusable), and a steady stream of issues when these "improvements" break other applications or fail to install properly.

        The fact that Windows 7 is still doing so well should kind of hint that a sizable percentage of users don't care about "the latest features" and prefer long term stability over a steady stream of changes. Other vendors recognise this (for example, Ubuntu gives everyone the choice of the regularly updated version, or the more stable LTS version). Unfortunately MS seems to think that only very specific businesses might want a stable and dependable version of Windows, so the LTSB branch is out of reach for most home users.

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          At Dave K, Re: Stability.

          Thank you for pointing this out. I intended to do so if nobody else had done it yet.

          As someone whom relies on a ScreenReaderEnvironment (SRE) to interact with my computer at all, the OS remaining stable is absolutely critical. I can't see to fix it if an OS update breaks the SRE, since I can't use the computer unless/until the SRE is talking & the SRE can't talk until/unless the OS is up & running. Break the OS & I'm left with having to pack up my computer, take it to BestBuy, & pray they don't destroy what's left. They will almost certainly empty my bank account, so either way I'm well & truely fucked.

          MS doesn't seem to realize, care, or intend to do anything for folks that *have* to have a stable OS in order to use the Accessibility tools we need to interact with the computer at all. They issue a patch, the patch breaks $Something, & part of that $Something will invariably fuck up the Accessibility. Since we can't fix the machine until/unless the Accessibility bits are working, an OS that's broken also breaks the Accessibility & leaves us unable to do anything... except pay someone else to try & fix our computer for us.

          Fuck that. I'm sticking with Windows 7 until I get fluent enough with my new Linux+ORCA (the SRE) system to ditch Windows entirely. I suck at Linux, it's been nearly twenty years since I last used it with any frequency, but I'm slowly clawing out the knowledge I need to be productive. I can't be productive on Windows 10, I'd be too worried that my computer would stop working at any time "for no apparent reason" (aka a Windows update forced down the pipe) & suddenly no longer had a computer at all.

          Hear that Microsoft? I don't need the fancy shit, I don't need the feature of the day, I don't need AR & VR & MR & whatever else you call it this week, I don't need Curtana, I don't need all the shit you keep shoveling down the pipe, I need a stable, reliable, working OS that allows both my SRE & I to Get Shit Done. You stop me from GSD & my only recourse is to find someone else (another OS) that *will*. Guess what? You've screwed the pooch with Windows 10, & since I'm not into beastiality I'll go elsewhere.

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Who didn't see this coming?

          " should kind of hint that a sizable percentage of users don't care about "the latest features""

          I care very much about them, in the sense that I wish they would stop coming so fast. I really miss the days when they only came around every couple of years, and I could realistically choose whether and when I was ready to get them.

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Who didn't see this coming?

        "For only $99/year we can keep your PC uptodate."

        Linspire tried that, and it failed. but it was nice, for a while, being able to purchase inexpensive PCs with Linspire pre-loaded. [then I would put Debian on them]

      4. Zakhar
        Linux

        Re: Who didn't see this coming?

        No please, Redmond... don't do that!

        The day the monthly subscription starts we will see truckloads of n00bs going the penguin way. On top of having to respond to inept questions, it will attract all the malware makers.

        We are happy with our 1% ...

        ... ah no, they said it recently doubled... well, let's hope it's not starting yet... and let's imagine they don't count WSL as Linux (who knows!)

        [PS: sorry we can't have both sarcasm + penguin icons!]

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Who didn't see this coming?

      I wonder how long it'll be before there's a monthly subscription charge...

      That's the "Windows As A Disservice" release.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who didn't see this coming?

      Too true!

      So far I'm refusing to buy into Adobe's subscription service. This looks even more of a pain.

      [Insert obligatory reason for switching to linux here]

      1. J 3
        Go

        Re: Who didn't see this coming?

        My wife, who is a professional graphic designer, got fed up with Adobe and switched (well, is switching, since not all programs are ready, apparently) to Affinity programs. Old school model, pay $50 and that's it. She is very happy with the programs she's used so far, like Affinity Designer --she says it it much more light weight, does pretty much everything that Illustrator does, and in some cases more. I hope more people will try it, so Adobe gets some real competition.

        By the way, I have no affiliation or whatever with Affinity. Just married to a happy customer.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Who didn't see this coming?

          Older CS3 user here and never upgraded to the Adobe Creative Cloud.

          I'll give Affinity a look. Thanks for the recommendation.

        2. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Who didn't see this coming?

          My wife, who is a professional graphic designer, got fed up with Adobe and switched (well, is switching, since not all programs are ready, apparently) to Affinity programs.

          Just like to put in a word for Xara here. No connection other than as a happy user, though the thing is Windows-only which is a bit of a problem if your existing setup is Apple.

          Xara Designer Pro

          M.

        3. MrNed

          Re: Who didn't see this coming?

          I concur. The Affinity apps are brilliant - Designer especially. I stuck with CS5 when Adobe went subscription only, then went to Affinity when they came out. Haven't needed to open an Adobe app in ages, and don't miss their bloated bug-ridden wares in any way whatsoever.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Affinity

            Their photo product looks to be excellent too. Serif have come an awful long way since i tried their stuff at least ten years ago.

          2. Vince

            Re: Who didn't see this coming?

            Add me to that list. CS4 was my last. Was going to get CS6 and then they yelled Cloud Cloud Cloud was about to be forced on us, so I decided against it.

            I use Affinity Photo in place of Photoshop and it is very credible and well priced. I also have the iPad version and it’s also fabulous. All for less than the Adobe “Photography” subscription.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Old school model

          Same here -- not a professional graphic designer, but had occasional use for a vector editing software, didn't get used to Inkscape and Illustrator was very expensive for my needs. Bought Affinity Designer (lucky me, they've dropped the price from $50 to $40 for some time), was able to install it in two computers and it does all I need (then some more). But I confess that I would buy Illustrator for twice the price if it was sold, not rented.

          1. BitDr

            Re: Old school model

            I'm going to ask a question that might be difficult to answer.

            Why?

            Why would you pay more for features you don't need?

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Innovation is what's needed...

          "Old school model, pay $50 and that's it."

          Which is also how it should be. I'm pretty much of an audio freak and have purchased several professional DAW's and same thing: you pay a lot of money (around E 700,- or such for Ableton Live Suite edition) but that's it. The version gets supported for many years until a new version comes out, then I can upgrade (but with a huge discount because I'm already a customer) or chose not to. When the version after that comes out: same deal. I can upgrade, with a discount.

          The problem though is that software vendors should be more innovative. There comes a time when you don't have much extra to sell your audience, after which some customers can become stingy if you try to sell them stuff which - to them - isn't worth the upgrade costs.

          There are some software vendors who I really admire, and who I've stuck with over the years. Especially: Ableton, Propellerhead, Visual Paradigm, Daz Studio and Cycling '74 (now part of Ableton). Oh, and AOMEI tech: their partitioning software is brilliant in my opinion. Even the free version does good stuff, but it's well worth buying into as well.

          So what would be the main thing which "ties" all these companies together? Their "old school" and honest sales model: you pay for an item, you download the item and it's yours to work with. No subscription nonsense, no "new version = new full payment" nonsense (they actually value their customers!) and most of all: I seriously enjoy working with the software.

          Microsoft? I actually paid for Windows 7 (bought the Professional version) and what did I get? They tried to force me into Windows 10. Not even the pro version! So much for reliability. I'm staying on 7 for as long as it's supported and after that we'll see what's next. I wouldn't even be surprised if I'd move onto FreeBSD (with a Win7 VM for my regular work) or maybe even make a switch to Apple. I don't particularly like Apple (in some cases I think it's overpriced) but to my knowledge they don't try to force you into stuff you don't want. And all my professional software runs on both platforms, so....

          1. myhandler

            Re: Innovation is what's needed...

            Yes but Apple tend to tie in their software with OS updates - so if the OS is updated you *have* to update Logic Pro to run the latest version and that's not free.

      2. wallaby

        Re: Who didn't see this coming?

        "[Insert obligatory reason for switching to linux here]"

        In these forums - oh so tediously predictable reasons more like

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Who didn't see this coming?

          "[Insert obligatory reason for switching to linux here]"

          In these forums - oh so tediously predictable reasons more like

          If you prefer, you could run ReactOS instead. I expect they'll reach full WinXP-compatability in another 10 years.

    4. Lysenko

      Re: Who didn't see this coming?

      I wonder how long it'll be before there's a monthly subscription charge...

      Hmmm. Build in and then enhance a Linux subsystem (thus getting an open source competitor into places it otherwise wouldn't be) when your end game is to increase charges?

      Sorry, I don't buy it. That's too dumb even for Microsoft. I'm sure there is an end-game, but it's not going to be that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who didn't see this coming?

        @ Lysenko

        I don't down vote often, any more, but I think that is very naive and got one.

        I find it hard to believe that I've been on this site long enough to start to evolve into a reasonable human. I'm only in my 50ies so maybe I'll achieve that :)

        1. Lysenko

          Re: Who didn't see this coming?

          I don't down vote often, any more, but I think that is very naive and got one.

          Naivety doesn't really come into it. You assume that Microsoft either have no interest in retaining their position as the most popular desktop OS or they are terminally incompetent - and I'm not convinced of that. I don't actually care one way or the other since most of my machines run Linux anyway.

          Some of the reactions one gets around here lead me to think that a malaria vaccine (should one be created) will be dismissed as an evil innovation if it turns out Bill Gates (Boo!! Hiss!!!) had a hand in funding it.

      2. Hairry Hippy

        Re: Who didn't see this coming?

        Could it not be the other way around - rather than people spinning up Linux VMs to get basic scipting tasks done (and therefore potentially realising that Linux would be a viable alternative) MS are trying to provide enough of a Linux environement to keep people on Windows?

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Who didn't see this coming?

      "I wonder how long it'll be before there's a monthly subscription charge"

      'Not Soon Enough' as far as Micro-shaft is concerned

    6. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Who didn't see this coming?

      Monthly charge?

      I suppose MS could pay me month to month, but it would be a hell of a lot to make Windows 10 seem like a good idea.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who didn't see this coming?

      Calling it now.

      Subscription charge for the 'Pro' features, Group Policy Editor, virtualization, BitLocker, Domain Join etc.

      Next time there will be no Home vs Pro edition of Windows: everyone gets 'Home' by default. If you want Pro, you'll have to pay a monthly subscription; the day you stop paying is the day those features get switched off. For stuff such as Cortana, Edge, OneDrive etc, Microsoft can take them and shove it.

      They'll throw in free OneDrive cloud storage, a few months of free Office 365 trial, and maybe some credits or code to redeem games or apps on the Microsoft Store.

      This is the brave new world. If it gets out of hand I'd rather buy a Mac.

      A win32 desktop-focused Windows (ReactOS) can't arrive quickly enough. Run Steam and legacy games properly, run the win32 applications flawlessly.

      I can't wait for the day when using Windows is like launching a Sega Genesis emulator, only used occasionally for a dose of legacy nostalgia, nothing more.

  2. TRT Silver badge

    So that's what it is!

    "keeping compatibility with a large user base on old versions of Windows restricts its ability to innovate."

    I did wonder what was holding them back; but "users" was such an obvious answer I don't know why I didn't think of it before.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: So that's what it is!

      [Derisive laughter, er, Bruce]

      keeping compatibility with a large user base on old versions of Windows restricts its ability to innovate.

      <u>a large user base on old versions of Windows restricts its ability to charge by the month</u>

      More like....

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "keeping compatibility with a large user base"

      Most users don't look for an OS - the look for applications to perform what the need or like.

      And they may not want to abandon them just because someone in a marketing department decides they should not run anymore, or have to be bough from a store to get a 30% ransom, or need to have a new UI to match the latest fashion.

      One of the reasons Windows kept its market its exactly because of its backward and forward compatibility - you could usually run new applications on older systems, and old applications on newer ones, within reasonable limits. So you can decide what to upgrade and when.

      Kill this, and make it a fully consumer system with built-in obsolescence, and many customers will look elsewhere for systems that don't force them to chase the latest fashion at all costs - especially at higher costs...

      1. Flakk Silver badge

        Re: "keeping compatibility with a large user base"

        Most users don't look for an OS - the look for applications to perform what the need or like.

        Bingo. At home, I would be perfectly happy with "Windows 10 Single-User Program Launcher with Networking Support Edition". I don't need any of the garbage that Microsoft thinks I need. I just need the OS to run the software that I choose.

        1. joed

          Re: "keeping compatibility with a large user base"

          Just because you don't need it does not mean you won't be embraced by MS and shoved all the crApps down your throat. Choice is so yesterday. Remember, you're consumer and get served (Windows as a "service").

    3. Tikimon Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: So that's what it is!

      "keeping compatibility with a large user base on old versions of Windows restricts its ability to innovate."

      No, it restricts MS's ability to drag its customers away from a mature product that meets their needs, and force a spying platform with a horrible UI on them instead. Fixed that for ya.

    4. joed

      Re: So that's what it is!

      It's ironic how the ability to innovate often means removal of features that part of MS' userbase got to rely on. Windows as a service is for its users like building castles on quick sand. And don't forget to pony up for faster Internet service.

      fts

    5. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: So that's what it is!

      If Windows 10 is an example of Microsoft innovating... well, I will have the innovation-free version, please. This crap they're pushing now isn't even a good value for the money when it's free.

    6. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: So that's what it is!

      "keeping compatibility with a large user base on old versions of Windows restricts its ability to innovate."

      I did wonder what was holding them back; but "users" was such an obvious answer I don't know why I didn't think of it before.

      The solution is quite simple; MS just needs to adopt Wine as a compatability runtime under the newer MSWindows. Then they could remove the old cruft out of the kernel and port the removed pieces to the Wine-layer.

      Heck, had they done it at the time of the Wine/ReWind split, they could have used the ReWind version under the X11 license (which I'm sure they would have preferred over Wine's GPL).

  3. TRT Silver badge

    Timeline...

    Innovative. Aka "Recent documents ++"

    1. Czrly

      Re: Timeline...

      Also: "the very first thing I'll turn off when the new build lands"

      Seriously. Who wants that? Sending recent activity data to Microsoft just for a pimped Alt+Tab experience that nobody other than Microsoft fully support?

      If Microsoft actually wanted to innovate, they'd accept the innovative idea that Windows is supposed to be an operating system and, as such, is not supposed to innovate. It is supposed to run programs. End of.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: an operating system and, as such, is not supposed to innovate.

        So you're still running CPM yeah?

        1. VictimMildew

          Re: an operating system and, as such, is not supposed to innovate.

          > So you're still running CPM yeah?

          A new OS is an innovation. Once in the wild, it should surrender its innovative ambitions, settle down and concentrate on supporting the development of innovative software.

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: an operating system and, as such, is not supposed to innovate.

          "So you're still running CPM yeah?"

          I am, on three of my machines.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: "So you're still running CPM yeah?"

            There's a difference between making improvements or advancements or enhancements or adding features or whatever you want to call it and innovation which is creating a new method, idea or product.

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Timeline...

        > If Microsoft actually wanted to innovate

        Next you will want native ext4, a decent text editor (instead of two that have sucked since the 90s) and actually a bootloader that has not been put together by interns toiling in the boiler room?

      3. Cypherdude

        Re: Sending recent activity data to Microsoft

        My understanding is that Microsoft's Windows 10 has been tracking your activity and sending it to their servers since day 1, not just recently. See this YouTube video:

        "Windows 10 Spying is worse than I ever imagined"

        https://youtu.be/RVzc5wK2-pc

        I believe the person in the above video works in PC security in England. He has made other videos regarding this subject.

        This is why I still use Windows 7-64, until Jan 2020. After that I don't know what I'll do, Linux Wine perhaps?

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Sending recent activity data to Microsoft

          "This is why I still use Windows 7-64, until Jan 2020. After that I don't know what I'll do, Linux Wine perhaps?"

          There's also Windows 8.1, suitably modified. I'm preparing for a Windows-free future too (using Linux to post this), but I also have 8.1 installed on both of my main PCs. Out of the box, 8.1 has a pretty poor UI, but that can be fixed. With Classic Shell to replace the tiled start screen and eliminate the hot corners and charms, Old New Explorer to remove the ribbon from Windows Explorer, a custom theme to un-flatify the UI, and a batch file along with install_wim_tweak.exe to evict the Windows Store and all of the other apps, Windows 8.1 is very close to Windows 7, only with three more years of support. No Windows as a Service pushing out unwanted updates that break a lot of things twice a year, no forced updates, no more telemetry than Win 7 (easily removed, unlike 10), no Cortana, no uncommanded installations or uninstallations... if you must run Windows, it's better than 10 by far, and still has a lot of life left in it.

          It's still a temporary measure, even if the time frame is long. Microsoft shows no signs of backing off on this insane direction they're taking with 10, so while we can hope that they will see the light and make Windows 10 into something worth using, it's not terribly likely.

          1. Cypherdude

            Re: Windows 8.1

            If I buy Windows 8 Pro - Upgrade, does Microsoft still give the upgrade to 8.1 for free?

            Where do you get the batch file along with install_wim_tweak.exe to evict the Windows Store and all of the other apps?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sending recent activity data to Microsoft

          @ Cypherdude

          "This is why I still use Windows 7-64, until Jan 2020."

          The Windows 10 privacy situation has been much improved since 2015. Most people don't realize that they can pretty much stop telemetry by shutting off one or two services ( the primary one being "Connected User Experiences and Telemetry" ).

          The rest can pretty much be handled through the improved Privacy section of Settings. The Cortana component of Search can be handled with a single regedit.

          Moreover, with a single line in PowerShell you can wipe all the "apps" off your local account, with a second, all the "apps" on the system (new accounts will be created without them). Imagine the possibilities, eh?

          It takes a bit of tweaking, but hey, it's Windows, and it's meant to be tweaked.

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