“Windows as a Service” is failing. It’s obvious: Windows is not a service, and never was. It’s a desktop operating system, and it doesn’t need updates every six months. Even iOS and Android only get significant updates once per year.
“Updating All These PCs Sure Is Hard!”
Microsoft just put out a blog post about Windows 10’s quality, and it’s very defensive. Microsoft doesn’t explain what happened with the October 2018 Update at all, nor does it promise to change the development process in the future. The only real commitment is to more transparency and improved communication going forward.
To put all the recent bugs into perspective, Microsoft asks that we consider “the sheer scale of the Windows ecosystem”:
With Windows 10 alone we work to deliver quality to over 700 million monthly active Windows 10 devices, over 35 million application titles with greater than 175 million application versions, and 16 million unique hardware/driver combinations.
That’s right—Windows is a very complex beast that has to support a large number of hardware devices and software applications. That’s a reason Microsoft should slow down and stop updating Windows so frequently, not an excuse for constant bugs.
Windows 7 supported a lot of hardware devices and software applications, too. But Windows 7 wasn’t constantly breaking things. Microsoft provided a stable base of software for hardware manufacturers and software developers to work on.
We still agree security updates are important, of course. But Microsoft managed to deliver security updates to Windows 7 and older versions of Windows before “Windows as a Service,” and those security updates rarely caused problems.
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No One Asked for Windows as a Service
No PC users asked Microsoft for Windows as a service. It was all Microsoft’s idea.
“Software as a service” is trendy. But these types of services are generally hosted on a remote platform, like Amazon Web Services or even Microsoft Azure. Web applications like Gmail and Facebook are services. That all makes sense—the company maintains the software, and you access it remotely.
An operating system that runs on millions of different hardware configurations is not a service. It can’t be updated as easily, and you’ll run into issues with hardware, drivers, and software when you change things. The upgrade process isn’t instant and transparent—it’s a big download and can take a while to install.
Very little software will break if Google changes something in Gmail. In the worst case scenario, Gmail will go down. On the other hand, millions of applications (or computers!) could break if Microsoft makes a mistake with Windows.