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Microsoft Introducing a New Operating System to Compete with Google’s Chromebooks

by Jacob Lynch

Microsoft has revealed a new operating system that it will be creating for some of the lower price computers that use Microsoft’s software. The name of the system has been revealed to be Windows 10 S; what the S officially stands for has yet to be revealed.

The system’s design features have led to the speculation amongst observers that this is Microsoft’s answer to Google’s Chromebooks, as the system seems to be a simpler version of Windows 10, which falls in line with the design of the Chromebooks. This new version of Windows is designed to be competitive with the ease of use of the Chromebook, which has seen a rise in popularity in educational use.

From what can be gleamed of the system it seems to be a simpler version of Windows 10. This design choice seems to be in order to emphasize simplicity. The internet only design philosophy of the Chromebooks leaking over to Microsoft has softened the price of those computers that will be sold packaged with the new system, though some moderately priced computers will be running the operating system as well.

With this new system comes some changes other than just simplification to the software. “Everything that runs on Windows 10 S is downloaded from the Windows Store,” said Microsoft’s Windows chief Terry Myerson. [1] This means that any app not available on the Windows store will not be usable on any system running Windows 10 S. This is not too surprising, seeing as the entire system has been designed around simplicity of use. “Many hardware peripherals that work with Windows 10 today will work with Windows 10 S, but may have limited functionality,” was also stated by Microsoft, presumably in order to retain the simplicity angle of Windows 10 S. [2]

Google, the proprietor of the Chromebook, does not seem to be too distraught about Microsoft’s announcement. “I’m happy to see a validation of the approach we’ve taken. What educational institutions have demanded is simplicity. It’s a real test tube for all of us, whether it’s Microsoft or any of us,” said Prabhakar Raghavan, an executive at Google. [3] It is possible that the Chromebook will have a rival in these new computers running Windows 10 S, as many schools and individuals already like and support Microsoft, and may be willing to try the new system out. “I would be willing to try out the new [system] if schools started using it,” said senior Joshua Miller, “it could be better than the chromebooks.”

Sources:

[1] https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/3/15530588/microsoft-windows-10s-features

[2] http://www.zdnet.com/article/what-is-windows-10-s/

[3] https://www.neowin.net/news/google-executive-on-windows-10-s-were-happy-to-see-a-validation-of-our-approach