Microsoft is set to move the Windows 10 S concept across all new PCs shipping later this year. The move may drive down the price of PCs, but could also drive up market confusion as a result.
Microsoft looks set to muddy the Windows 10 waters even further with the launch of new Windows 10 versions based on the Redstone 4 variant coming in the next couple of months. If a report from Thurrott is correct, Windows 10 S, which is currently sold as a separate operating system on Microsoft’s Surface Laptop among others, will be dropped. In its place, all consumer and education PC sold from the arrival of Redstone 4 onwards will ship with a new “S Mode” as the default version of the operating system.
As with Windows 10 S on the Surface Laptop, customers will have the option to upgrade to the full version of the operating system. However, customers who want to upgrade from Windows 10 S Pro to Windows 10 Pro, will be slugged with a one-time US$49 fee. According to Microsoft data, the majority of users who have purchased machines with Windows 10 S have stuck with the OS, even though it only runs Universal Windows Platform applications.
Microsoft reportedly also plans on charging OEMs tiered pricing for Windows based on the performance of the PC that it ships on. For example, a new Core+ version of Windows would cost OEMs US$86.66, but can only be installed on machines with less than 8 GB RAM and a hard drive of 2TB or less. The new Advanced version of Windows will cost OEM’s US$101 and can be installed on machines with a CPU like a Core i7 and 16 GB RAM. Other variants of Windows for OEMs will include Entry, Value and Core.
While the move by Microsoft might help to drive down the upfront sticker price of a Windows-based PC, it sure to create confusion and some angst among power users who would prefer to have their PC shipped with a full-blown, unadulterated version of Windows on their machines. According to Thurrott, however, Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro will continue to be sold separately.