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For Microsoft, Windows 10 is not just another update; it promises a wholly new user experience

Microsoft has announced the long-awaited launch of Windows 10, scheduled to be the iconic platform's last numbered version. By all estimations, Windows 10 will give modern IT users everything they want, wherever and whenever they need it. The one operating system, on the surface at least, addresses all kinds of devices - from PCs and smartphones to even game consoles.

For Microsoft, Windows 10 is not just another update; it promises a wholly new user experience. Seamlessness is an important theme to recognize, a vital force in an era when employees demand more flexibility in working environments. Microsoft was behind the curve when it clung to the strategy to monetize a client device OS. Dropping the numbered versions is evidence the company is moving away from Windows as a product to Windows as a service. On paper, this makes complete sense.

Windows 10 comes with a host of new features, but only time will tell if and how these new capabilities, such as Windows Store for Business, Windows Update for Business, Azure Directory Services, etc., will meet business requirements. We've already seen a high percentage of clients eagerly awaiting Windows 10 and many have already kicked off their migration. Meanwhile, organizations that don't make the switch now will nonetheless need to migrate by 2020, the planned end of life for Windows 7.

There's no denying OS migrations are a huge undertaking. Organizations often underestimate the planning phases for major IT initiatives and analysts recommend at least 12-18 months to prepare for the project. Dispensing with legacy infrastructure is complex and time-consuming. Automation of this process has emerged as one of the IT world's most sought-after capabilities.

Even when upgrades are free, organizations must accept that the cost of migration involves much more than an OS license. Microsoft promises very high compatibility with Windows 7, but organizations must still plan and budget for a substantial effort involved with compatibility and ongoing patching of key applications - and the potential for costly remediation, especially for web-based applications. Furthermore, Windows 10 introduces a number of changes to security and application management that will require careful planning to implement.

So is Windows 10 the end-all, be-all? Time will certainly tell. What we do know is our customers are excited about its potential and we're looking forward to the challenge of supporting the new system on a grand scale.

About Eric Aarrestad
Eric Aarrestad is VP & GM at Unified Endpoint Management Business Unit. He is responsible for the Unified Endpoint Management Business Unit, including all strategy, go to market and customer success activities for the growing portfolio of Unified Endpoint Management applications. Prior to his role at HEAT Software, Eric was CMO at Lumension and VP of Product Management and Marketing at WatchGuard Technologies.

Previously, Eric held a number of senior leadership positions at Microsoft including Director of Worldwide Marketing and Director of Product Marketing, Mobile Devices. He came to Microsoft from Sightward where as Vice President of Marketing he was responsible for driving product strategy and marketing of predictive analytics products and solutions. Eric holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Portland and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.

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