Microsoft hit the headlines this week with the unveiling of Windows 10, the next release of its operating system that still powers the vast majority of the world's personal computers.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Windows 10 is now a done deal, but the announcement was actually just a preview, an early version of the platform that will now be tweaked and adapted and developed based on the feedback from an army of testers, both inside Microsoft's enterprise customers and beyond.
The reasons for the software giant inviting feedback during the development process in this way are clear; it made some huge blunders when putting together Windows 8, which have led many people to shun the platform, especially among its core business market.
For those of us with long memories, the whole affair has a feeling of déjà vu. I can recall trying out pre-release builds of Windows Vista, and wondering whether Microsoft really was intending to foist that platform onto its unsuspecting customers.
The problem with Vista was that it was a big step up from XP. Not so much in the user interface, but in its greater hardware requirements, and it introduced changes in the application programming interfaces (APIs) that broke compatibility for many applications.
It also introduced the infamous User Account Control (UAC) prompts that popped up and asked people to authorise certain actions. Added as a security feature to counter some of the vulnerabilities in earlier versions of Windows, the pop-ups appeared so often in the first release of Vista that they quickly became irksome.
With enterprise customers stubbornly refusing to migrate to the latest Windows (sound familiar yet?) Microsoft took heed and made sure that the next version addressed the issues. Windows 7 successfully pared back the hardware requirements and greatly reduced the number of UAC prompts, as well as introducing a bunch of new features.
Windows 7 has gone on to be one of the most successful releases, although it has inherited the API changes that have made migration a headache for many enterprise customers, and this is the foremost reason why so many organisations were still running XP when the support deadline for that ageing platform rolled around.
Then, when I first laid eyes on a pre-release version of Windows 8, I recall having the same feeling of disbelief. Was Microsoft going to try to convince its blue chip customers to upgrade to this new platform that was so different, with its blocky coloured tiles, touch-oriented user interface and completely new application development model?
Once again, Microsoft has had to row back on its crusading zeal to push boundaries, and instead offer customers something less jarring and more comfortingly familiar. The result is Windows 10, which currently seems to be enjoying the same sort of positive press that Windows 7 did in the early days.
But before we get too enthusiastic about Windows 10, let's not forget that there are still challenges for Microsoft to overcome. Application compatibility is the major one and, while Microsoft has hinted that it may have some answers to this conundrum, we will probably have to wait for the release version to see whether it really has fixed these issues for those still declining to upgrade.
Then there is the matter of the upgrade process itself. Deploying a new version of Windows has seemingly become such a fraught process that many customers prefer to roll it out piecemeal, by acquiring it ready installed on new systems. Microsoft claims it will have an answer for this, too.
And with many organisations still in the throes of a migration from XP to Windows 7, uptake of Windows 10 is always going to be somewhat leisurely at first. Here too, however, we may see a case of déjà vu: in the same way that many people skipped straight from XP to Windows 7, we could see users skip Windows 8 and go direct to Windows 10.
We can only hope that Windows 10 does live up to its promise, otherwise, as one analyst put it, customers risk being stranded on increasingly outdated systems. But it is encouraging that Microsoft seems to have learned its lesson and is listening carefully to customers once more.
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