OH MICROSOFT, I really don't want to hate you. Really, I don't. You've given the world so much. Zune. Windows Vista, DOS 4.0…. and then there's the good stuff. But it just seems lately that every time you seem to be doing something good, you manage to pepper it with something disgustingly, despicably evil. And it's boring. Really boring.
Windows 10 S is the embodiment of this. On the face of it, Microsoft sees how popular the cheap and cheerful Google Chromebook has become in the education market, and decides it wants some of them apples.
Except it's not that simple is it? For a start, the education system is going to have to fork out a thousand dollars for a slimmed down version of Windows on a machine specifically built for it.
To be clear - that's not to say all laptops are going to cost that much - the long and the short of it is that if you can run Windows 10, you can run Windows 10 S. The question is why you'd want to.
So what is Windows 10S ? It's basically Windows RT, which was a disaster because, well, it was crap, not least of all because it stopped the user from choosing freely from the Windows ecosystem, locking them into what was then called "Metro apps".
People didn't like it. It was a change. It made years of history and software obsolete and most of the apps were strangulated.
And this is where the sociopathic evil of Windows 10 S really lies. You couldn't get the adults to change, so you're going after the kids. It's like in the fifties when big tobacco tried to sponsor schoolbooks.
Schools will be able to get Windows 10 S and a scaled down version of Office free, and it just makes my skin crawl. This is not some great act of benefaction, it's downright nasty.
There's a moment in The Untouchables, one of my favourite movies, where Jim Malone (Sean Connery) explains that the best way to avoid bent cops was to go to the academy.
"If you're afraid of getting a rotten apple, don't go to the barrel. Get it off the tree."
Windows 10 S is the opposite of that. It gets kids, at an early age, used to not being allowed to use Google (or Duck Duck Go, or whatever), not being able to use any apps but the ones in its chosen ecosystem, and generally form early habits about what a computer should do.
You have put in some good things - like the fast boot up time, clearly a leaf out of the Chrome OS playbook. But Chrome OS lets you use any search engine, or combination you like. Windows 10S foists Bing on kids. Children growing up in 2017 have enough to worry about, without being forced to deal with effing Bing running on effing Edge.
What does the ‘S' stand for? Speed? Security? Streamlined? How about STOP. Just STOP.
When Windows 10 was released, I flagged up concerns that Satya Nadella was sounding a bit, well, brainwashy, in his way of dealing with the world. And well, Microsoft, we've had a lot of harsh words since. I want to like your direction, and I even managed to find some nice things to say about you for a while there, but this whole thing is making my skin crawl.
My advice to every teacher in the world. Don't take the poisoned apple. Kids are capable of using a full version of Windows. A laptop with an SSD is reasonably priced and man, can they boot fast. Saying it's aimed at kids not only does them a disservice, but actually plays into a downright evil ploy.
Teach your kids on Chromebooks. Teach them in Linux. Hell, teach them in Windows XP, it's fine, but don't be part of enslaving a generation in a scheme designed to help Microsoft to get their monopoly back. You're not helping the kids, you're not helping anyone except Microsoft, and yes, you've probably noticed, I am bloody angry about it.
And as for us adults, the idea that Windows 10 S is a good alternative for us? It's just more marketing bollocks. Windows RT didn't go down well enough, so let's rebrand it, put a turd-bow on it and see if they bite this time.
I want to write a really positive article about Microsoft. I get tired of listening to myself complain about every crappy thing they do. But they just keep doing more crappy things. And it has to stop.
To quote another, less sublime but equally brilliant film, Jim Carrey says it best in The Cable Guy: "Somebody's gotta kill the babysitter". µ
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