In October, outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer dismissed concerns over the faster pace. At a Gartner Research-sponsored conference, when analyst David Cearley noted, "Enterprises are concerned about that accelerated delivery cycle," Ballmer simply shook his head.
"Let me push back," said Ballmer, "and say, 'Not really.' If our customers have to take DVDs from us, install them, and do customer-premise software, you're saying to us 'Don't upgrade that software very often ... two to three years is perfect.' But if we deliver something to you that's a service, as we do with Office 365, our customers are telling us, 'We want to be up to date at all times.'"
Another Gartner analyst, Michael Silver, countered Ballmer's claim. "Organizations need to be afraid of what's to come," Silver said at the time. "If [companies] get on this release train, Microsoft will take them where [Microsoft] wants to go, or [Microsoft] will run them over."
Myerson's hint of separate release trains, to use Silver's terminology, may be a repudiation of Ballmer's contention. Or not.
His statement of, "It may be the right way to continue serving the enterprise market," could be interpreted to mean that Microsoft will maintain an accelerated tempo for business versions of Windows -- one faster than the three years between upgrades that the company has used in the past -- and speed up Windows updates to consumers even more.
"The consumer really is ready for things to be upgraded on their own," Myerson said.
"Microsoft's biggest strategic question is, 'Am I an enterprise company or a consumer company, or both?" said Moorhead. "Something has to break here."
And one crack might be, according to Myerson, a separation of consumer and commercial on Windows.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. See more articles by Gregg Keizer.
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