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The Future of the Windows PC

Microsoft will be releasing its new Windows operating system, Windows 10, on July 29, 2015, and in case you were wondering where Windows 9 went, well, they disappeared it and moved straight from eight to ten, skipping over what should have been Windows 9.

I am not sure if this is a good omen or not, but Microsoft are due to release a "good" operating system this time round. Pre-release reviews indicate that it is pretty good so far.

Where XP was great, Vista sucked. Windows 7 was pretty good, especially coming after Vista, but then Windows 8 bombed, so Windows 10 HAS to be good. That's what we are hoping anyway.

Windows 10 is going to be FREE for Windows 7 and 8 owners (as long as you claim in the first year), so it's nice of Microsoft to dish out an effectively free upgrade and is an indication of how badly they want people to adopt Windows 10. If it's free, it's a no brainer right?

Users without those operating systems (yes there are still many, many Windows XP users) will have to pay $119 for a Windows 10 Home edition or $199 for the Pro edition. Some have also predicted that Microsoft will provide updates and upgrades for Windows 10 for free in perpetuity, but let's see if that holds true over the longer term.

Some cool features of Windows 10 will be a Siri-like virtual assistant called Cortana that you activate with your voice. This is incredibly handy for creating reminders, notifications and alarms on the fly.

Microsoft is also launching a new default web browser that they are calling Windows Edge. This is not the Internet Explorer we know and hate; nope, this is a completely new browser built from the ground up for Windows 10.

Internet Explorer will still be around for a long time however as Microsoft are committed to supporting legacy applications from here on in, so if your business depends on Internet Explorer to run key applications, fear not, IE will probably never die.

Windows 10 will also get virtual desktops too, the ability to create new desktops and open them as self contained individual entities, which contain their own individual set of running applications and so on. However Windows 10 virtual desktops have NOTHING to do with the VDI kind of virtual desktops, or virtual servers, virtual machines, hypervisors or anything that we would usually associate with the term 'virtual desktops'.

Windows 10's virtual desktops feature simply provides users with a way of organizing running applications into logical workspaces. It's also super easy to switch between these workspaces.

Windows 10 is supposedly going to evolve into a cross-platform operating system that will allow applications to run on any device with a Windows 10 OS and this will include your Xbox, PCs AND your phones. They have a cool feature called Continuum, which looks like it is spelt wrong because it is, but anyway Continuum is responsible for making your apps work across different devices and enabling a seamless workflow from one device to the next.

So you can stop working on your desktop, leave work for the day and continue working where you left off on your tablet, with your applications optimizing themselves for the best device experience and remembering where you left off with your currently active applications.

In the foreseeable future Windows on the desktop is here to stay, even if Windows does look like it's suddenly going to creep onto every other device that Microsoft makes.

I don't think for a second that Microsoft is going to forget about their traditional desktop user base any time soon. Whilst mobile users are forever growing bigger as a group, the business world still runs on desktop PC running Windows and that is not likely to change very much over the next decade.

Windows was born on the PC and it will remain on the PC for a long time to come.

Then finally the IT industry is full of people who prefer locally installed operating systems and locally installed applications and people who absolutely hated Windows 8 and these people manage the IT of some of the world's largest businesses. Just as huge amounts of the business world stayed on XP long after Vista was launched because it sucked, the business world will most likely do the same thing if Windows 10 sucks that badly too.

Do not forget a major PC market segment that nobody talks about much, gamers. The gaming market actually carried the PC market for years after the tech bubble burst in the early 2000s and the PC is still the best platform around if you are serious enough about gaming to care about things like frame rates.

The key gaming market is really why Windows 10 will become the Xbox operating system and why Xbox games will work on the PC and vice versa, to retain a traditionally loyal market who need to run powerful, graphics-rich applications locally.

Based on all of this, you should expect to see the Windows desktop PC around for long time and it is still not quite time to trade in your trusty Dell Workstation for a Surface 3 tablet just yet.

Never forget that Microsoft still pretty much operate a monopoly in the desktop PC operating system space and they are not about to let that market slip away through their fingers.