Microsoft is switching its approach to Windows 10 S, its new version of Windows that’s designed to compete with Chrome OS. The software giant originally announced Windows 10 S as a dedicated version of Windows for education customers that’s restricted to running Microsoft Store apps. Neowin first spotted that Microsoft is planning a new “S Mode” for Windows 10 Home, Enterprise, and Pro.
This S Mode will essentially lock down any copy of Windows 10 so it can only run apps from the Microsoft Store, and does exactly what the dedicated Windows 10 S operating system was built to do. Thurrott reports that 60 percent of Windows 10 S users have remained on the operating system, instead of switching to Windows 10 Pro free of charge. 60 percent of those who do switch reportedly do so within the first 24 hours of owning a Windows 10 S device, and if they don’t switch in a week then 83 percent stick with 10 S.
While it’s surprising that Windows users are happy sticking to just Microsoft Store apps, it’s clear the company’s new strategy will mean even more users could receive devices with S Mode enabled. Microsoft is reportedly planning to allow Windows 10 Home users to disable the S Mode free of charge, but Windows 10 Pro customers with S Mode enabled on their device will be forced to pay $49 to get access to a full version of Windows 10 Pro.
It’s a risky strategy that will need to be explained clearly from both Microsoft and its various PC partners to avoid consumer confusion . While the Home versions appear to have a free switch path, the charge for the Pro versions could irritate consumers who opt for more premium devices. It all depends whether OEMs ship devices with S Mode enabled.