Microsoft is taking control of OS updates


WINDOWS Phone isn’t as fragmented as Android, but there are still a subset of users who don’t have the latest operating system updates for their devices.

That’s not due to an issue on Microsoft’s part about wanting to keep smartphones updated. It’s quite the opposite: Microsoft is keen to get the latest updates to as many devices as it can. Often times, it’s the carriers themselves that are log-jamming the update process. Or, in some cases, preventing them entirely.

Just take AT&T’s treatment of the Denim update to Windows Phone, which still isn’t available on a handful of AT&T smartphones even though Microsoft announced the update late last year. Or consider Verizon’s treatment of the previous OS update, Cyan, which it continuously rejected up until the carrier jumped straight to Microsoft’s Denim update.

That’s quite a wait for users who were stuck dealing with an older operating system while Verizon allegedly pressured Microsoft to fix compatibility issues between the operating system and Verizon’s own apps.

According to a new report from ZDNet, Microsoft is allegedly going to take charge of its smartphones’ updating process with the release of Windows 10 Mobile.

We say allegedly, because this is the same kind of promise that Microsoft made with the launch of Windows Phone, period. The carriers still managed to exert much more control over updates than Microsoft likely wanted, so we remain skeptical about the company’s ability to bypass them entirely going forward.

“Here at Microsoft, we take our responsibility to keep Windows secure seriously. We follow up on all reported security issues, continuously probe our software with leading edge techniques, and proactively update supported devices with necessary updates to address issues. And today, we’re announcing this continuous update process applies to all Windows 10 devices, including phones,” reads a blog post from Microsoft earlier this month.

In other words, smartphones running Windows 10 Mobile will enjoy the same kind of update process that Windows 10 desktop users get. With Microsoft in charge of the updates, there won’t be subsets of phones that get tweaks, patches, or new features before others.

The carriers will still presumably get one last laugh, however: Windows 8.1 smartphones should be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile, but the carriers will control the release schedule for that update.

So, if you can make it to Windows 10 Mobile, you’ll likely enjoy a less-fragmented experience—if your particular carrier doesn’t make you wait months after the mobile operating system’s release to get there.


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