When it comes to how Microsoft updates the Windows platform, this year is looking a lot like 2019, which was actually supposed to be an outlier due to a change in direction.
Prior to that, Redmond used to launch major new updates for the OS each spring and fall.
Both releases were usually heavy hitters in terms of the new additions that they brought along, a lot of them actually being ambitious and innovative. Of course, it also meant that Microsoft started slipping a bit when it came to these new features — some of which never saw daylight.
Despite being in development for many a moon.
2019 was said to be a transition year, as Microsoft was said to be looking to shift gears. This was said to be the logic behind the Windows 10 November 2019 Update, which was simply an enablement package that added nothing major.
Anyway, as this blog post from John Cable, director of program management for the Windows Servicing and Delivery group, confirms, the company will repeat last year’s cadence for Windows 10 updates:
“We will again deliver Windows 10, version 20H2 using servicing technology (like that used for the monthly update process) for customers running the May 2020 Update who choose to update to the new release.”
Major-minor is the new norm, folks.
Of course, this is a sweeping departure from the previous strategy of launching two feature-packed updates for Windows 10 a year. What we get now will be a packed release in the spring that will be followed by a service pack refresh in the fall.
Now, you may be wondering why doesn’t Microsoft just bad the idea of a second refresh each year? Why even launch two updates, when a single big one will do?
The primary reason cited for this strategy is that the company wants to hold to the 30-month cycle for the Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education customers that deploy the fall release. The only other option would be to change the lifespan of the spring release that is 18 months for all versions.
In any case, we now have confirmation of this dramatic change in what was meant to be the foundational concept of the Windows-as-a-service strategy.
Unofficially, at least.
That there is only going to be one true feature update for Windows every year, with the second one being but a shadow of the first.