Microsoft’s streamlined operating system Windows 10 S is set to be dropped less than a year after its launch, with the software giant rebranding its Google Chrome competitor and discontinuing it as a standalone version of Windows.
Microsoft launched Windows 10 S in May last year as a cheaper, restricted operating system, only able to run programs from the Microsoft Store and designed to be safer and perform better over its lifetime than other versions of Windows.
While it will be dropped as a separate operating system, Microsoft will embed the “safe” version of Windows into its existing systems, essentially tying more users into Microsoft products.
Windows 10 S was built to compete with Google’s more limited but safer Chrome OS, which has proved popular with businesses and in education. However the operating system received a frosty reception, with many claiming it limited the versatility of Windows.
Microsoft is now preparing to ditch the operating system, industry blog Thurrott.com reports, instead launching an “S Mode” version of its existing systems for Windows 10 Pro, Home and Enterprise.
Windows 10 S received a limited release on budget laptops and the Microsoft’s own Microsoft Surface Laptop last year. Now, more new PCs are expected to come in S Mode, and users will have to upgrade to experience their full version of Windows. This upgrade will be free on most models, but cost $49 on Windows 10 Pro.
Internal figures from Microsoft showed that 60 per cent of users remained on the Windows 10 S operating system, with the rest choosing to abandon the system by upgrading, according to Thurrott.com.
A Microsoft spokesperson said: “Windows 10 S provides a streamlined, secure and battery-efficient experience that we believe is a great choice for many customers. We’ll share more about what’s next for Windows 10 S when we’re ready.”
By offering S Mode across its operating systems, Microsoft will hope most users won’t choose to upgrade, instead continuing to use the streamlined version of Windows, which limits access to apps such as the Chrome and Firefox search engines.
Microsoft is also planning to offer two new updates to Windows 10 in spring and autumn, for now called Redstone 4 and Redstone 5. Its last upgrade was the Fall Creators update, released in October last year.