Menu
Microsoft tries to take on the Chromebook once more

Microsoft tries to take on the Chromebook once more

Will the third time be the charm, or will Windows Lite join Windows 10 S and Windows RT as failed Windows variations?

Credit: Google

If I were in charge of Microsoft, besides fully embracing Linux for the desktop, I’d give up on trying to challenge Google’s Chromebooks with lightweight versions of Windows. It hasn’t worked before, and it won’t work now.

But I’m not in charge of Windows. Indeed, since Terry Myerson was shown the door in March 2018, no one in Microsoft’s mahogany row has represented Windows.

That lack of top leadership may be why Windows quality assurance hit new lows with the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.

Be that as it may, Windows Lite, a.k.a. Windows Core OS (WCOS), will come out in 2019, according to the rumour mill. I don’t think you’ll be able to buy it. Instead, you’ll get Windows Lite, like Windows RT and 10 S before it, pre-packed on dedicated laptops.

I suspect, but I don’t know, that Lite will make its first appearance at Microsoft Build 2019. When is Microsoft Build? There’s no date for it yet, but past history suggests April or May.

Until then, there’s a lot of guessing going on. It appears that Windows Lite will be built on top of OneCore, which is the heart of Windows 10.

But OneCore, like the Linux kernel, is only the barebones basis of a full-featured operating system. On it, so the theory goes, Microsoft can build a variety of platforms, some of which would not look like Windows at all.

In fact, before Myerson exited stage left, the plan had been to release multiple OneCore-based devices, such as a Surface Pro 6, in 2019, and the HoloLens and the next-generation Xbox, Scarlett, in 2020. Now, we’re only really sure that Windows Lite will use OneCore as its foundation.

So just how much will Windows Lite resemble Windows 10? Not much at all. According to Brad Sams, who’s been covering Windows Lite like paint on a wall, Windows Lite will only run Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps.

If that’s indeed Microsoft’s plan, there are two big problems with it right out of the gate. First, not being able to run normal 32-bit Windows apps is one of the things that killed Windows RT and has left Windows 10 S floundering in search of users.

Second, what do you call a Microsoft OS that can’t run Windows programs? Darned if I know, but Microsoft better not call it Windows. Does it really want to make the same branding mistake three times in a row?

We’ll see.

On the other hand, say it doesn’t call it Windows. Would people buy it? I doubt it.

Chrome OS is the only new desktop operating system to have found a large audience in decades. I find it hard to believe that a non-Windows “Windows” can repeat its success.

Chrome OS works because it uses the familiar Chrome web browser as an interface to Google’s popular cloud-based services. Windows Lite comes much too late to the cloud party to ride that angle to success. Its other features strike me as a mere repeat of Windows RT’s and S’s failures.

Businesses will want Windows 10 with all the trimmings, not a cut-rate, crippleware version of Windows. Ordinary users won’t want to learn another new interface to do the same old work.

In short, I don’t get it. If there’s a sound business reason for Windows Lite, I’ve yet to see it. How about you?


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftGooglechromebook

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments