Microsoft gives Windows 10 1903 the 'go' sign for business, four months after release

The business-ready milestone is designed to give enterprises confidence that 1903 is both stable and reliable and can be widely deployed.

hand at keyboard with Windows logo

Microsoft has officially told corporate customers that Windows 10 May 2019 Update - the year's first feature upgrade - is suitable for widespread deployment.

The announcement last week came four months after the launch of the upgrade, which also goes by 1903 in Microsoft's yymm format.

"Windows 10, version 1903 (the May 2019 Update) is designated ready for broad deployment for all users via Windows Update," Microsoft stated on Sept. 26 in the Windows 10 release information page. "We recommend commercial customers running earlier versions of Windows 10 begin broad deployments of Windows 10, version 1903 in their organizations."

Until this year, Microsoft declared each Windows 10 feature upgrade business ready when it promoted the refresh from the "Semi-Annual Channel (targeted)," or SAC-T, distribution line, to the "Semi-Annual Channel," aka SAC. But after dumping SAC-T, only a discrete message was expected from Microsoft.

The business-ready milestone is intended to give enterprises confidence in the stability and reliability of a given feature upgrade. That confidence is based on the time beta testers from the Windows Insider program, early adopters and most importantly because of their numbers, users of Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro - the former forced to accept upgrades on Microsoft's timetable - had run the code and reported bugs that Microsoft reflexively fixed.

Microsoft was originally motivated to report the transition because, first of all, the action catered to its most important customers (enterprises) and second, the assurance was something at least some of those customers relied on - because of history, including service packs - to trigger deployments. Microsoft was motivated to continue publicizing the mileposts for the same reasons, even as markers disappeared.

Just last week, Computerworld questioned Microsoft's commitment to continue alerting commercial customers, wondering whether the Redmond, Wash. developer would simply skip the notification and instead let the appearance of the impending Windows 10 1909 - the fall's "upgrade" - serve as the milestone for commercial customers to install 1909.

That prediction rested on the fact that 1909 is to be little more than a rerun of 1903, a cumulative update of the fixes since late May. Because the two - 1909 and 1903 - are essentially identical, testing of 1903 was testing of 1909.

Clear? Good.

Microsoft could yet follow through on the Computerworld forecast, of course, by telling enterprises they can widely deploy 1909 immediately upon its release.

But when will that be? Unknown.

In July, Microsoft said it was aiming for a September launch of 1909, a deadline that at the time seemed eminently doable because the fall release would be a reprise of 1903 bolstered by a small number of new features. Yet Microsoft has missed the September mark.

That's not unusual in itself, as Microsoft has had no luck in meeting the release windows expressed in the four-digit label and over the past 18 months, not much more in making the month following the March and September dates of the monikers.

But to miss September when the contents of Windows 10 1909 are decidedly not equal to past fall upgrades, when from the outside a cumulative update seemed like a slam dunk to make that deadline, just adds to the ongoing questions about Microsoft's ability to maintain a service-style cadence.

days until Win10 is business ready IDG/Gregg Keizer

Windows 10 1909 didn't set a record for how long after release Microsoft said it was ready for broad deployment by commercial customers. But it came in just behind the debacle of 1809.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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