Microsoft's Windows 10 OS Set An End Date in 2025, Microsoft quietly edited documents on its website over the weekend to reveal its plans to end support for Windows 10 Home and Pro on October 14, 2025.
The revelation comes just before Microsoft's "What's Next Windows" event scheduled for June 24 and amid hints from CEO Satya Nadella that a major version of the new Windows is coming soon.
Windows 10 was originally released in 2015, so 2025 will be within the typical 10-year time frame Microsoft provides to support versions of the operating system.
The new version of Windows could be Microsoft's way of powering the PC market made hot by the pandemic.
"With more people working remotely, and likely to continue to do so in the future,
There may be increased interest in replacing existing PCs or acquiring new PCs, and new major releases of operating systems may keep people interested in new hardware."
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A Windows analyst at Directions at Microsoft, an independent IT consulting service focused exclusively on Microsoft based in Kirkland, Wash.
"But it requires interesting features, like increased security or enabling a new class of apps to really drive the momentum to change the OS," he said. "It can't just be change for the sake of change."
Windows by Any Other Name
In the past, the name of the next version of Windows would be simple: Windows 11. But when Windows 10 was introduced, Microsoft stated it would be the last version with a number. That led to speculation about whether Microsoft would drop Windows as the name for its operating system.
"I wouldn't be surprised if they did. Maybe it's time to update the branding," Jim McGregor, founder and principal analyst at Tirias Research, a high-tech research and advisory firm in Phoenix, told Reuters.
Because there is significant value in the Windows trademark, Cherry is confident Microsoft will keep it in some form.
"They might be able to benefit from just dropping Windows 10.
"It makes Windows the only OS name, with some other name or code name that points to a particular release or version."
Apple did that when it ditched OS X and switched to macOS. The macOS version is marked with place names, such as Sierra and Monterey.
"Keep in mind, that there are versions – Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 – and editions – Home, Pro, and Enterprise –
to make naming more confusing than it should be," he added.
"It would be great if they removed the edition, but the edition was used to make a difference in features and price."
Paying for Windows?
Pricing could be a problem for the new Windows
"Microsoft has maintained the same business model as it has become a cash cow.
But as Microsoft moves toward more cloud services, their model has changed, so it's not surprising to see their Windows model change as well," McGregor said.
"I'll try rolling it into a package that contains another product," he advises. "So you're not just paying for Windows. It also pays for Office and many other applications."
"You pay for a suite, just like you pay for cable TV today."
"You guys get a lot of crap that you don't want, but if you want cable, you're going to pay a monthly fee. I'd be surprised if that wasn't what ended up happening."
If the OS is already installed on the PC, then the cost of the OS is included in the purchase price, explained Cherry.
"For people who have existing devices, who are able to run new OS, then it becomes a function whether the goal is to spur sales of new OS, or keep people on new OS switching to rival OS," he said. .
"There will likely be some free mix for people using the version that is currently supported, and potentially charged for slow who don't use the version that is currently supported," he added.
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Windows OS Subscription Service
Although Microsoft will continue to charge PC makers who install Windows on their machines because it remains a significant source of revenue for Microsoft, the possibility of upgrading to the new OS will be free, said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Research Reticle, a consumer technology advisory firm in New York City.
Even the cost of pre-installing the OS can be avoided in some cases. For example, Microsoft waived the cost of installing Windows on tablets in an attempt to bypass the iPad market.
"It's not surprising that there's a fee exemption for certain PC designs that look more like Chromebooks," Rubin said.
He added that Microsoft might try a hybrid approach to pricing in new OS.
"Microsoft has many versions of Windows.
— home, professional, company —
so chances are they can make the basic version of Windows available for free and if you want more capabilities, then they'll charge you for it."
Since many companies, including Microsoft, are obsessed with charging monthly fees for software,
Could it be a pricing alternative to the new Windows?
"It will be very difficult for them to compete with Apple and Google, if they impose a subscription fee only for Windows," Rubin said.
Although the official date for Windows 10 is October 2025, there may be some space within that deadline.
"Once the Windows version is officially discontinued, they usually support it for two years or more to give the company time to change," McGregor said. "Consumers, however, may never switch."
Rubin explained that Microsoft has a history of extending support for versions of Windows years after the announced sunset date.
"Given the length of time Windows 10 has been a flagship operating system — it has a large installed base — it wouldn't be surprising to see that date pushed back," he said.
"Sometimes it has to do with whatever absorption comes after," he continued.
"If the next version doesn't resonate, then Microsoft will tend to keep Windows 10 longer."
"If this is a good solid release, it supports existing apps,
and enabling new applications or workflows, will likely follow a similar trajectory to Windows 7 and Windows 10."
"If the OS is unstable or the changes are too drastic or unattractive then it will likely follow Windows 8."