Microsoft Defends Windows 10 S, Teases Surface Phone

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Microsoft has come under fire for some of the restrictions it places upon users in Windows 10 S, which comes pre-loaded on the new Surface Laptop. But in a recent interview, Microsoft said it believes it's on to something.

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Speaking to Business Insider in an interview published on Friday (June 16), Microsoft general manager for Surface Ryan Gavin said that Windows 10S can be restrictive. But he noted that it's designed for certain environments and people, including schools and novice technology users, that really want "faster load times and better battery life."

Microsoft announced the new Surface Laptop last month. The device offers a sleek design with Alcantara fabric and a vibrant display, but the most controversial feature is that it runs Windows 10 S out of the box. The operating system is a pared down version of traditional Windows 10, and perhaps most importantly, won't let you download apps outside of the Windows Store.

MORE: Windows 10 S Locks You Into Edge and Bing, Out of Key Apps

Microsoft -- and Gavin -- argue that won't be a problem. Gavin noted that Microsoft built the computer with the slimmed-down operating system because the company's "customers wanted it." And Microsoft is also quick to note you can download a standard Windows 10 build to Surface Laptop if you're not fond of Windows 10 S.

But Gavin discussed much more than just Windows 10S. In fact, he quickly turned his attention to Apple, saying that the iPhone maker copied Microsoft with its iPad Pro.

"Think about it, if we had been looking at [Apple] we wouldn't have made a product like Surface Pro or Surface Book," Gavin told Business Insider. "We have been learning and perfecting our products in the 2-in-1 category for years now, [but] when Surface initially launched everyone was skeptical, including them. And then they followed, and the iPad Pro is a clear example of that."

Still, Gavin said that Microsoft doesn't "really look at Apple" and what it's doing.

Gavin ended his interview with some hints to the future, telling Business Insider that if Microsoft ever releases a Surface Phone, it won't "resemble what we know and think of as a phone today."

Gavin didn't say, however, whether Microsoft is considering a Surface Phone launch.

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5 comments
  • Bryan Says:

    I have a surface Pro and the only win32 apps I use are office and photoshop elements. Both of which have store apps. I'm also an above average computer user giving tech support to most people I know. So I can certainly see in a world where a lot of people either have no idea what they are doing on their computer or rely on their phone having basically a phone OS makes sense. If of course it leads to cheaper computers. Most people I know have more computer and OS then they need, which explains the appeal of Chrome.

  • Michael Says:

    It's interesting how they characterized their relationship with their customers, that 10 S is what their customers want. We're about to buy a Surface book and it's for business mostly; Photoshop. So it seems plausible that there really is a business use for it and a demand for "streamlined" performance, though it's rather disappointing to spend over $1000 and not be able to indiscriminately populate it. That's basically what Apple does so we can assume that the customers they're listening to are iPhone users.

    They're combining the worst part of Apple with the worst part of Windows Phone; their lonely, deserted ecosystem.
    We uses to say in the 90s that Macs were for people who didn't know anything about computers. Perhaps that's our future.

  • Zeeshan Khan Says:

    Personally, I think that Windows 10 S is a very risky move for Microsoft. Many people complain that there is not enough software available on the store, which is why upgrading to Windows 10 Pro seems like a better idea. However, I believe that one of the major reasons why Microsoft took this step is that so they can encourage the development of Windows Store apps. Windows 10 S may be the catalyst for encouraging development for UWP apps. If this happens then Microsoft will be successful in this route, and many people will start considering using Windows 10 S and Windows Phone operating systems.

  • Trent Larson Says:

    As always, the lack of apps on modern/metro is why this will fail. And big. Edge browser being the only option on S? Really MS?

  • Jeremy G Says:

    "Slimmed down" version of Windows? I wouldn't consider this slimmed down. It has all the advanced features of Windows Pro except for the ability to install win32 programs.

    This is a good thing as there are many executable files that will completely degrade the performance of your PC. Is this going to be a major seller in the PC market? No, but it is a start to getting rid of the outdated win32 technology.

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