Earlier this week, Microsoft made a big announcement stating that Windows 10 version 22H2 is going to be the last feature update for the OS. It’s the clearest indication yet that Microsoft’s popular Windows 10 is no longer the company’s primary focus, something I’ve been requesting official confirmation of for months.
With Microsoft ending support for Windows 10, the OS will continue to receive monthly updates that bring security patches and minor improvements, but no version “23H2” until the OS loses support entirely on October 14. Or any other feature update will not happen. 2025.
While Microsoft is already actively working to improve Windows 11, rumors have started circulating about the next major operating system update, which we’re calling “Windows 12” for now, though It can be called anything really (remember the missing Windows 9?).
However, one thing that has become abundantly clear since the release of Windows 11 is that Microsoft users (including perhaps myself) are resistant to change. Microsoft largely ignored Windows’ general interface and UX with Windows 11, and let’s just say, not every change has been positively responded to by its users. It’s not just about the interface change, there have been a lot of complaints about reducing functionality in the name of simplicity. While the Redmond tech firm is adding back. Some functionality, it’s clear that people have grown accustomed to, and even prefer, many aspects of Windows 10 and aren’t willing to change just because Microsoft says Windows 11 is more secure.
With Windows 12 expected to arrive next year – just three years after the release of Windows 11 -, this attitude isn’t going to change. People aren’t just migrating from an OS they’ve fallen in love with because the new one has some shiny AI and cloud features they might not even use.
In a way, I find it a bit funny. I remember when Windows 10 was released, there was a huge backlash against the forced updates and telemetry functionalities that Microsoft introduced into the OS. Although the tech firm eventually managed to fix these issues, it took time, and now it’s apparently the most beloved current version of Windows.
Remember that Windows 10 became available in 2014, which means it had about seven years in the spotlight before being replaced by Windows 11. People had time to get used to Windows 10, they didn’t experience the same with Windows 11 and now, we’re already hearing about three-year upgrade cycles between Windows 12 and major OS versions.
The general public hasn’t warmed to the idea of Windows 11 in the past two years. According to StatCounter, Windows 10 captures about 75% of the Windows market share while Windows 11 is 20% away. Of course this will change with time but it will be a matter of months not years. And with operating systems becoming even more fragmented with Windows 12 and then with new versions every three years, I’m sure people will stick to a stable OS they like (i.e. Windows 10) instead. To upgrade and familiarize yourself with a new version every three. There’s also the issue of the relatively poor quality of Windows updates year after year, and the lack of confidence that Microsoft will give feature updates enough time in the (development) oven.
I have a strong feeling that Microsoft is going to end up in yet another situation where a large portion of its customer base is using an unsupported OS (Windows 10), à la Windows 7, and this from a newer version of Windows. It will be many years ago. Holds the majority of the market share. I don’t think this is an ideal situation for a firm that plans to use security as the main reason for people to update. Microsoft doesn’t want to push out-of-band security updates on Windows 10 because its customer base refuses to move on.
Only time will tell how eager people are to switch from Windows 10, and in the seemingly chaotic Windows Update process where we have new releases every three years and multiple major versions supported in parallel have been. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we find out that people decide to stick with Windows 10 – like they did with Windows 7 – just because of what Microsoft will introduce with its next operating systems. Wally blocks everything new from familiarity. For the majority, it doesn’t matter whether Windows 11, 12, or 13 offers new functionality, it’s more about how the human mind works in terms of inertia and resistance to change. And while that makes sense to me, I don’t think that’s the situation Microsoft wants.