Microsoft has fanned the flames of Windows 10 for some time, and I've been perfectly willing to warm my hands by the fire.

Just recently, the company admitted there may be some signs of trouble in their plans to dominate in business. It's enough to make you wonder all over again if there is an alternative operating system that can work in business.

The first sign was when the software giant made a fairly desperate move to make sure people upgrade from an older version of Windows. The notice takes over your entire screen. It's almost as bad as malware because you don't expect such an aggressive tactic. Your "window" to upgrade is getting smaller and smaller--it's free only until July 29--and Microsoft really wants you to understand that

Another glimmer came when the company announced some changes in their plans to have one billion people using Windows 10 by 2018. It might be a little far-fetched. The original plan was for millions of people to use Windows 10 on mobile devices, but Microsoft backed out of the mobile market almost completely as more and more of us use iPhones and Android devices. Of the 350 million users on Windows 10, many of them are using an Xbox One.

That leaves you wondering about a few things. If people are resisting the upgrade, and few of us are choosing Windows 10 for a mobile operating system, maybe it is not such a raging success after all. And, maybe some of the benefits of Windows 10--namely, the fact that it runs the same on phones, tablets, and laptops--are not as important if you only use a laptop. Maybe the glaring problem of there not being as many touch apps for Windows is more serious than anyone thought.

And, maybe there are some other options besides Windows 10.

I tend to use a Chromebook when I travel. It doesn't run Photoshop and the file management is terrible, but I love being able to boot up in seconds. There are no little annoying apps or virus checkers that pop up, no upgrade reminders, the security is almost airtight, and I mostly use one for typing anyway. I don't really need the power of Windows 10. What I need to do is get some work done. It doesn't even matter which model I drag along--those from Dell, Acer, and Google all work about the same, and all of my files are online anyway. I've even found a way to edit photos using a Chromebook using the Pixlr web app, so Photoshop isn't even required.

Now, this doesn't mean I use a Chromebook in my office. I need a more powerful photo editor at times, I need to manage my files and backups, and I tend to do some video editing and play PC games. The problem with the "one billion devices" concept is that there are many other people like me that need the power of Windows at times but can also get by without Windows. I know of many small business owners who would never upgrade in a billion years because an older version of Windows (or even a Mac or a Linux box) is working just fine for their needs.

What pushes us to the billion mark is when something is completely indispensable. Launched in 2008, the iPhone is still dominating. Apple has sold nearly one billion phones because iOS tends to actually work. It's "smart" in that it doesn't crash, runs countless apps, and it's intuitive. You can't say that about Windows 10. It does crash, it doesn't run that many touch apps, and it's not always perfectly intuitive, especially to new users.

Don't get me wrong--I still like it and use it. It's fast and mostly reliable. But the latest news is a reminder that it might not be the most brilliant OS ever. It might not even be the most brilliant OS available right now.

Published on: Jul 19, 2016
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