Next year, Microsoft plans to stop shipping Windows 10 S as a separate version of Windows. The stripped-down software, which can’t run programs from outside Microsoft’s app store, will instead become a “mode” of existing Windows versions, Microsoft’s operating systems vice president Joe Belfiore said on Twitter.
Microsoft revealed Windows 10 S last May as a response to Google’s Chromebooks, whose simple browser-based software has taken over the education market. Hardware partners including HP and Acer announced cheap laptops running Windows 10 S, and Microsoft used the operating system for its own Surface Laptop.
Still, it’s unclear how many buyers want to lock themselves into a feature-limited version of Windows. Microsoft had originally planned to let Windows 10 S users upgrade to the standard version for free until the end of 2017, but has since pushed the deadline to March 31. The company also started selling the Surface Laptop without Windows 10 S, albeit for an extra $100.
In the future, Microsoft could abandon the upgrade fee entirely, at least when switching between Windows 10 Home and S mode. That could make the idea of Windows 10 S less frightening, especially for IT departments that aren’t sure about relying on the Windows Store for apps.