Windows 10 has finally arrived, and the overall reception for the new platform appears to be favourable.
People are greatly cheered by the return of the Start menu, and by the fact that Windows 10 appears to run well even on older systems, while introducing features such as Windows Hello that will make use of newer hardware.
But there are still some reservations about the platform, many reviewers noticing rough edges and bugs that needed fixing right up to the launch.
The consensus seems to be that Windows 10 looks like a great upgrade, but you might want to wait to upgrade any systems that you rely on for your work until the early adopters have had more of a chance to give it a shakedown.
Did Microsoft release Windows 10 too early? Some industry experts have speculated that the company was originally aiming to get the new operating system out later this year, in time for the Christmas shopping season, but pulled the launch forwards to hit the back-to-school market.
If so, this could explain some of those rough edges, although they may not matter too much in the long run thanks to Microsoft's Windows-as-a-service approach with Windows 10, which will see the firm release updates and new features for the platform during its lifetime.
Another question has arisen over how Microsoft can afford to make Windows 10 a free upgrade for the first year of availability, at least to anyone who owns a system currently running Windows 7 with SP1 or Windows 8.1.
Here, Microsoft is banking on the fact that many consumers will prefer to purchase a shiny new system with Windows 10, rather than go to all the bother of downloading and installing the upgrade onto a PC that could well be several years old, and the firm can charge a licence fee to vendors for each preloaded copy of the operating system.
But Microsoft is also moving away from one-off licence purchases as a source of revenue, instead aiming to get users to pay a regular subscription fee. Many large corporate customers already effectively pay on a subscription basis for volume licensing agreements, and Microsoft is seeking ways to get everybody else onto a similar deal with products such as Office 365.
This is where Microsoft's Office apps come into the picture. Available as a free download, these provide a basic version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook optimised to view documents on a tablet or other small screen device.
Free they may be, but Microsoft is gambling that people will find them so useful that they will fork out for an Office 365 subscription to unlock the more advanced capabilities of the apps, including the ability to create and edit files.
And the Microsoft Office apps are not just available on Windows 10. Versions can be downloaded for Apple's iPad and iPhone, and Android smartphones and tablets, opening up a potentially much wider audience of paying customers for Microsoft's services.
Given this, how long will it be before we are required to shell out for Office 365 or some other subscription-based service in order to unlock the full features and capabilities of Windows?
Meanwhile, doubts are gathering over the future of Microsoft's own phone platform, following the announcement earlier this month that it is axing 7,800 jobs from its phone hardware business, and will narrow its focus to three customer segments in future, including business-focused handsets.
This means that Windows Phone devices may be heading for an even smaller share of the market than at present, where they account for just a few percent of global handset sales.
The version of Windows 10 that will run on Microsoft's phone hardware, Windows 10 Mobile, could give Microsoft a boost thanks to the ability to run Universal apps, such as the new Office apps, across phone and PC, which could interest businesses and professionals.
However, even this may not turn out to be the case, as Microsoft's own strategy of putting the Office apps onto other platforms, as just discussed, removes some of the key differentiation from Windows Phone devices.
This leaves Microsoft with Windows 10 on PCs and tablets, a market that has seen its ups and downs over the past few years. Nevertheless, look inside any office around the world, and the chance is you will see Windows PCs in use.
This at least doesn't look like going away any time soon, and with Windows 10 Microsoft has just given the platform a new lease of life.
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