Windows 10 ‘S’ Is App-Store-Only Unless You Pay $50

Business Insider’s Matt Weinberger calls the new Surface Laptop a “MacBook Killer”, because he works for Business Insider and they’ve got some sort of bot that changes the word “competitor” to “killer” in any headline related to Apple. This bit about Windows 10 S caught my eye:

The one thing to know, here, is that the Surface Laptop is the poster child for Windows 10 S, a new version of the operating system, also announced today, that Microsoft promises is more streamlined, more secure, and that offers better performance and battery life than the standard Windows 10.

The tradeoff for those perks is that Windows 10 S doesn’t let you install any software that’s not from the Windows Store app market — which means that, at the very least, you won’t be able to install the Google Chrome web browser.

If you’re not down with that, Microsoft lets you switch any Windows 10 S computer, including the Surface Laptop, to the regular Windows 10 Pro for a one-time $49 fee (less if you’re on a tablet or something else with a small screen size). But if you do that, Microsoft says, it can no longer guarantee you’ll get the improved battery life or higher performance.

I can see the argument for making the OS App-Store-only by default. I can also see the argument for an iOS-style system where it’s App-Store-only, period. But charging $50 for this feels like a shakedown. Imagine if Apple charged $50 to toggle the setting in the Security pane of System Prefs to allow the use of apps from outside the App Store.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017