There is some good news for enterprises keen on Surface devices, but wary of Windows 11. Microsoft confirmed last night that commercial customers could still select Windows 10 if they wished.
Under the heading "Help your employees work the way they want," the company offered the option of Windows 10 20H2 or Windows 11 21H2 at purchase.
We don't know many companies where employees get to work the way they want – most well-run companies ensure their workstations are locked down to ensure workers work the way IT (or at least the boss) wants.
Otherwise they'd probably all demand MacBooks and that would never do for the Surface division.
Microsoft's OS choice comes on the heels of advice from analyst firm Gartner that there wasn't a great deal for enterprises to get excited about in Windows 11. Sure, take a look and get ready for the inevitable forcing-down-the-throat that will occur at some point in the future, but making the leap sooner rather than later was likely a waste of energy.
- Gartner's Windows 11 adoption advice: Explore but don't rush
- Want to check out Windows 11 but don't want to buy a new PC? Here's how to bypass the hardware requirements
- Windows 11 in detail: Incremental upgrade spoilt by onerous system requirements and usability mis-steps
- Microsoft's problem child, Windows 11, is here. Will you run it? Can you run it? Do you even WANT to run it?
The choice will remove a bit of pain for administrators – having something with a familiar face out of the box will always trump the twin annoyances of retraining or reimaging.
Right now, the choice of operating system is on offer to commercial customers in "select markets." We asked Microsoft if consumers would also be trusted to make such a choice, but the company has yet to respond.
The choice of OS version is also interesting. The last Long Term Servicing Channel release of Windows 10 was the disastrous 1809, referred to as Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 rather than "the one that deleted all those files."
Microsoft has instead opted for Windows 10 20H2. 20H2 will be supported all the way until 9 May 2023, while 21H1 ends on 13 Dec 2022.
Windows 10 itself will remain supported until 14 October 2025, giving organisations just over four years to make the move should administrators opt to give Windows 11 a swerve on their shiny new Surface hardware. ®