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The OS that never was: Microsoft puts Windows 10X to bed

Microsoft ends Windows 10X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft confirmed today that the company is no longer planning to release Windows 10X. The OS was supposed to be released with dual-screen devices such as the now at-risk Surface Neo. It was designed to be a lightweight version of Windows 10 with a simpler user interface and other new features. 

The decision is tied to changes to Microsoft's strategy after the Covid-19 pandemic struck the world, with the company now focused on bringing the best features from the now put-to-bed OS into Windows 10. 

"Instead of bringing a product called Windows 10X to market in 2021 like we originally intended, we are leveraging learnings from our journey thus far and accelerating the integration of key foundational 10X technology into other parts of Windows and products at the company," John Cable, Microsoft's head of Windows servicing and delivery, wrote in a blog post.

Some of the proposed new features slated for Windows 10X have already begun showing up in Windows 10 updates. Features like a new app container, better speech to text, and a more modern keyboard are just a few we've seen with Microsoft stating it will "continue to invest in areas where the 10X technology," which makes a great deal of sense given all the time and money spent on developing the OS that never was. However, it more than likely means there will be no Surface Neo foldable PC coming. 

Windows 10X was to be released sometime in 2021 as a possible competitor to Google's Chrome OS, which made huge gains during the Covid-19 pandemic as teachers and students opted for more affordable Chromebooks when remote learning became the norm.   

Microsoft had previously attempted a lightweight version of its OS but failed with each attempt. Windows RT was the first major attempt in 2012 and was eventually followed with Windows 10 S, but both failed at scaling down Windows 10; there was hope for Windows 10 X, but, alas, it was not meant to be. 

R.I.P. Windows 10X, can it be considered a failure if it never arrived? Was this a case of failure avoidance? Could supply chain shortages be the real culprit? We may never know.