In my opinion, WaaS (Windows as a Service) works for corporate clients. Think of it as a combination of Microsoft 365, Intune and Windows AutoPilot. This mash-up makes it easy for IT department to manage and administer their devices as well as their users. The problem is, there’s a large group of Windows users for whom WaaS can be, and unfortunately often is, a nightmare.
I am talking about Jane and John Does, people with no expertise or greater understanding of computing and operating systems. They simply expect their mobile devices and computers to work, and that applications do what’s expected of them. A situation that requires them to understand terms such as Semi-Annual Channel, Cumulative Update and Feature Upgrade can be overwhelming. This goes double now that the role of personal computing is changing, where a PC is nowhere near as important as it was for most users before mobile devices took over the world. For such folks who use social media, online banking and whatnot with their Samsung phones and iPads, a laptop might only be used for an occasional game, for homework or writing a resume.
I do not want to call these people computer illiterate or newbies, so let’s just call them basic users.
For these basic users, there should be a stable version of Windows that remains stable and unchanging for longer than half a year. In brief, Microsoft needs to create a new concept: WaaOS, Windows as an Operating System as I call it in my notes and thoughts. Of course, as things stand today, it would also be WaaS but over a longer term, based on Microsoft’s LTSC (Long Term Servicing Channel) that is currently only available to corporate customers. A consumer could buy for instance a laptop with pre-installed Windows which for the next few years would only receive a cumulative update maybe twice a year plus all important security updates. It should also make it easy to defer all updates (except security items), if that’s what the user prefers. Of course, after the failed 1803 and 1809 releases, Microsoft should be extremely careful with releasing such a “Windows 10 Home LTSC” edition. Consumers should be able to trust that the operating system works as promised.
Another user group that could benefit from WaaOS is gamers. Although I’m not a gamer myself, the number of posts on various forums I follow about Windows upgrade breaking this game, blue screening when that game is launched, and so on is somewhat surprising.
There most certainly are users who want something they do not need to update and upgrade all the time. WaaOS as I call it, Windows 10 Home LTSC edition would greatly benefit those users. All this is of course just me “thinking aloud”, and something we will not see from Microsoft — at least, not in the near future.
Author: Kari Finn
A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.