Microsoft Releases Windows 10 S in Response to Chrome OS Challenge

Microsoft has promised stability and security to users as it launched Windows 10 S, a stripped down operating system (OS), to ward off the increasing threat posed by Google Chrome OS.

The new software is intended as an education tool and the company showed in a demo that the device can accept user logins in around 15 seconds. However, one drawback to Windows 10 S is that users will only be able to install apps downloaded from the Windows Store. This means that executable programs won't be recognized unless they are listed by Microsoft.

“Everything that runs on Windows 10 S is downloaded from the Windows Store,” Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Windows chief, said. For those who are worried about being stuck with Microsoft Edge, Myerson clarified that "Windows 10 S will run any browser in the Windows Store," provided that Chrome or Firefox is listed.

This was the same model adopted by Microsoft on its controversial RT-operated tablets. The software giant stopped production in February 2015 after suffering a paltry reception. PC manufacturers also refused to carry the OS due to restrictions on API access.

Running only native apps to the Universal Windows Program, the Windows 10 S is touted to have a longer battery life. Another advantage for schools is that vulnerabilities in their PCs and IT systems have been eliminated.

While Windows is still the preferred option for PCs and tablets (there are 1.25 billion computers running a version of Windows today), Chrome is quickly creeping up on Microsoft. This would have been unthinkable eight years ago when Chrome OS was first announced.

However, Google invested in improving the performance, speed, and stability of their OS and schools have started to take notice. They then started purchasing Chromebooks, putting a dent in Windows’ dominance of the market. In fact, by May of last year, Chrome-based devices have outsold the Mac for the very first time.

Prices for PCs running Windows 10 S will start at $189. There's also an upgrade option for schools, which need more functionality. They can opt to upgrade to Windows Pro without any additional costs. Home users, however, will have to pay $50 for that option.

Along with the purchase of Windows 10 S, schools will also receive free access to Minecraft Education Edition for one year in addition to Office 365 for Education with Microsoft Teams.