Microsoft Says Windows 10 Tech Preview Is All About Sharing, Caring (About User Feedback)

Microsoft, since opening early access to its Windows 10 technical preview Oct. 1, has signed up a million people and is already collecting valuable feedback, the Redmond, Wash.based-vendor said Monday.

It's all part of Microsoft's Windows Insider Program, in which partners and customers get to test out -- and provide feedback on -- a technical preview build of Windows 10 for laptops and desktops.

So far, Microsoft has received more than 200,000 pieces of feedback, Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Operating Systems group, said in a blog post Monday.

Gathering user feedback at such an early stage is a new approach for Microsoft, which is touting Windows 10 as its most "collaborative" OS ever. After the Windows 8 debacle, Microsoft has decided to listen closely to what beta testers like -- and don't like -- about its forthcoming follow-up.

Sponsored post

"We’re going to share our plans and progress with you earlier and more often as we want to build a Windows that everyone will love and really enjoy using," said Belfiore in the blog post.

Related: Microsoft Throws Curveball With 'Windows 10' Reveal, Aims To Win Back Enterprises

Scott Stanfield, CEO of Richmond, Calif.-based Microsoft partner Vertigo Software, said he has about 30 "die-hard Windows developers" using the Windows 10 technical preview, and said they're liking what they've seen so far.

"Opening up and getting early feedback is part of Microsoft’s DNA. It wasn’t during the Windows 8 development, clearly," Stanfield told CRN. "We’re glad for the new transparency and early access."

Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based Microsoft system builder partner, said it's encouraging to see the stepped-up focus on user feedback.

Tibbils said he'll be even more excited if Microsoft talks about changes it makes to Windows 10 in response to this feedback.

"It's one thing to gather feedback, but it would be great if they made changes that show they're taking people's suggestions seriously," Tibbils said.

Not only has Windows 8 flopped, Microsoft was also roundly criticized for locking down all information about the OS in the run-up to its launch. It's not going to make the same mistake twice, however.

In Windows 10, the touch-optimized "modern" apps run in a window on the desktop, enabling users to run them right next to their desktop apps. Many customers didn't like being taken to different environments for modern and desktop apps in Windows 8.

Stronger security for corporate data and the ability for enterprises to tailor their Windows app store experience to their own needs are also part of the Windows 10 technical preview.

Belfiore provided some details about the Windows 10 preview that show the feedback Microsoft is gathering is quite thorough. For example, 64 percent of Windows 10 technical preview users are running it on physical PCs, while 36 percent are running it inside virtual machines.

Sixty-eight percent of users are launching more than seven apps a day on devices running the Windows 10 technical preview, 25 percent are launching more than 26 apps daily, and 5 percent are launching 68 apps daily, according to Belfiore.

Whether customers embrace Windows 10 -- slated to arrive in mid-2015 -- remains to be seen, but clearly, Microsoft wants customers to know that it's listening to them more intently than in the recent past.