Microsoft is already planning to dump Windows 10 S, its stripped-down operating system intended to take on Chrome at the low-end.
Instead, the software giant will install an “S Mode” on standard versions of Windows 10, locking them down to a Microsoft-curated walled garden of apps, in which users can only install new apps from the Microsoft Store.
Users will also only be able to use Microsoft’s Edge browser, rather than Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, Firefox, Dooble, Avant, Slimjet or any other browser they want to.
In truth, under the skin Windows 10 S was always a locked down version of Windows 10 Pro, but the new development came to light during a Bugbash held over the weekend in which testing of the lockdown process was held for Home, according to Neowin.
This came as a bit of a surprise, as only Enterprise and Pro had been previously scoped. But what seems really odd is that, given that Microsoft soon switched tactics and brought full Windows to the Surface range – expensive, high-end devices rather than cheaper, low-end laptops – they still think an S Mode has a place.
It seems that, according to Thurrott, those who buy an S Mode enabled machine tend to stick with it – if they haven’t unlocked in the first week, 83 per cent never do.
Of course, for some, this is all nothing new anyway. Early ARM-based versions of the Surface used Windows RT, which is quite similar to Windows 10 in S Mode.
All the intelligence we have so far suggests that whereas up to now, unlocking to Enterprise has been free of charge, it will now go up to $49. However, unlocking to the Home edition will be free of charge.
Although the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) has seen some impressive growth in recent years, for hardcore users, not being able to run existing software will be a non-starter, and there are still some alarming gaps in terms of core apps available, not helped by the failure of Windows Mobile.