February 5, 2018 // 9:55 a.m.
Microsoft is reportedly set to drop its locked-down entry-level Windows 10 S stock-keeping unit (SKU) in favour of adding a 'Windows 10 S Mode' feature to other versions of the operating system.
Announced back in May 2017 and launched with the option to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free until March 2018, Windows 10 S was Microsoft's attempt at cutting rival Google's Chrome OS off at the knees. Based loosely on the long-since abandoned Windows RT, Windows 10 S was a locked-down version of Microsoft's flagship operating system designed to only run software sourced from the Windows Store - meaning, in theory, increased security and protection from malware but at the cost of a loss of compatibility with traditional legacy software.
Now, less than a year after its announcement, it appears that Windows 10 S is no more. Microsoft-watcher Thurrot has reported that Microsoft is to drop Windows 10 S as a distinct product as of the next major feature release of the operating system; instead, all existing versions of Windows 10 will receive an 'S Mode' toggle which, when activated, will lock the system down in the same manner as Windows 10 S with only Microsoft-approved software from the Windows Store functioning.
Microsoft has not yet commented publicly on its plans, nor on Thurrot's second report detailing a new Windows 10 SKU roadmap that will see customers - original equipment manufacturers and other bulk buyers - charged differing prices from $25 through to $101 depending on the specifications of their hardware as defined in Entry, Value, Core, Core+, and Advanced tiers.