What Microsoft's latest Windows 10 update upheaval means

The company's changes to support timelines and its plans for each spring and fall Windows 10 upgrade will affect how often and when companies and consumers update their PCs. Here's how things could shake out.

Microsoft's latest update upheaval will have long-term impact on Windows 10, affecting enterprise and small business upgrade scheduling and pushing consumers to continue working as free testers for the company.

The biggest news from Microsoft's July 1 announcement about the-until-then-ignored Windows 10 1909 - the second upgrade of 2019, tagged with the firm's yymm format - was that the company is scaling back feature upgrades, true feature upgrades, to just one a year. What had been the fall refresh would, in fact, shrink to the equal of an old-school "service pack," last used with Windows 7.

Each spring, Microsoft was implicitly telling customers, it would issue a Windows 10 upgrade filled with new features and functionality; each fall, it would deliver a performance and reliability update based on the spring upgrade. That fall update would essentially be a more polished version of the spring feature upgrade, nothing more, with new features either absent or reduced to a minimum.

But the one-upgrade-a-year-is-enough revelation - as important as that is, what with Microsoft's harping that its Windows-as-a-service (WaaS) strategy rested on multiple upgrades annually - was not the end of it.

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