Jerry Nixon, a Microsoft development executive, said in a conference speech this week that Windows 10 would be the “last version” of the dominant desktop software.
His comments were echoed by Microsoft which said it would update Windows in future in an “ongoing manner”.
Instead of new stand-alone versions, Windows 10 would be improved in regular instalments, the firm said.
Mr Nixon made his comments during Microsoft’s Ignite conference held in Chicago this week.
In a statement, Microsoft said Mr Nixon’s comments reflected a change in the way that it made its software.
“Windows will be delivered as a service bringing new innovations and updates in an ongoing manner,” it said, adding that it expected there to be a “long future” for Windows.
Right now we’re releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we’re all still working on Windows 10 – Jerry Nixon
Windows 10 will launch in late July, coming via a simple Windows update that can be installed over the top of Windows 7 and Windows 8.
No Windows 11
The company said it had yet to decide on what to call the operating system beyond Windows 10.
“There will be no Windows 11,” warned Steve Kleynhans, a research vice-president at analyst firm Gartner who monitors Microsoft.
He said Microsoft had in the past deliberately avoided using the name “Windows 9” and instead chose Windows 10 as a way to signify a break with a past which involved successive stand-alone versions of the operating system.
However, he said, working in that way had created many problems for Microsoft and its customers.
“Every three years or so Microsoft would sit down and create ‘the next great OS’,” he said.
Moving forward, the subscription model, which will allow all owners of Windows 7 and 8 to upgrade for free if they do so within the first 12 months, will continue from then onwards.Updates will be provided for the operating system much more regularly, one assumes than current full version releases. As such, Windows 10 isn’t going mark the end of the operating system – far from it.