The launch of Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 10 has been a qualified success.
Though only just under 8% of Windows users have switched the new operating system, putting it behind Windows 7 (55.71%), Windows 8.1 (10.68%), and even the no-longer-supported Windows XP (11.68%), according to October data from NetMarketShare, the company has been pleased with the adoption rate.
"In just a few short months, it's been incredible to see more than 110 million devices already running Windows 10," wrote Microsoft Executive Terry Myerson in a blog post. "I'm personally humbled and excited to see people around the world loving Windows 10."
Now, with the consumer version humming along, the company wants to speed adoption with enterprise users. These customers have traditionally been slow to upgrade, often waiting until the latest version of the OS has been on the market for years. Call it a "don't fix what isn't broken" policy that makes sense given all the potential headaches that come with introducing anything new in a large organization.
The latest Windows 10 update however hopes to both ease and speed the process for enterprise users.
Why does enterprise matter?
Consumers have shown an increasing willingness to select devices running Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS or even ones running Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android and Chrome operating systems. Apple specifically has been going after business customers with the launch of the iPad Pro.
The new iPad, with its bigger screen and Apple's first company-made keyboard/cover competes directly with Microsoft Surface Pro, a hybrid laptop/tablet which has attracted business users. Moving its core enterprise business onto Windows 10 keeps those customers away from Apple and Google devices in the office, which may influence them to stick with Microsoft in their private lives.
What is Microsoft doing?
Along with the general Win10 update Microsoft has introduced two free services, designed for a company's IT personnel "to bridge from today's complexity to the modern workplace, maintaining control and delivering reliable quality of services," Myerson wrote in a different blog post.
Of the two services the executive wrote about, "Windows Update for Business" lets each company's information technology department control how the updates are deployed withing their company. It also manages security issues and allows or scaled or staggered implementation.
This service makes sense because it lets IT go as as fast or as slow as it wants. That could make implementation easier and let companies stagger training and any problems caused by the new OS.
The second service Myerson wrote about, "Windows Store for Business," lets IT control which apps users can install. It also lets companies assign apps to users or make them available in a private store. This too is useful because it makes it easier for the company to control what people put on their machines while also making it simple for them to get what they need.
The goal of these services is to give enterprise users control over the update process while offering flexibility and security. Windows 10 also offers IT the ability to manage use of all devices including PCs, tablets, phones, and Internet of Things.
Security is key
One of the biggest concerns facing companies when it comes to computers is the possibility of data breaches. Microsoft has made security a key part of Windows 10 offering business users a number of tools designed to keep devices locked down, which Myerson talked about in his post about the Windows update.
These tools include "Credential Guard," which the executive wrote "safeguards credentials inside a hardware-based virtualized environment" and "Device Guard" which "uses Trusted Boot to prevent intruders from installing malware," he wrote. Microsoft is also offering business users Windows Hello, a password alternative which uses fingerprint and facial recognition.
Not all of these are new offerings, but they have been updated and improved to operate in a Windows 10 environment. These aren't revolutionary offerings either (though Windows Hello is pretty neat), just part of a package designed to make Win10 more appealing to business users.
It probably won't matter much
Microsoft deserves credit for making things easier for its enterprise customers and their IT departments, but it's hard to picture most businesses updating before they have to. That means the migration will likely occur when a company has purchased enough new, Windows 10 devices to make the wholesale switch.
Still, the company taking these steps is another sign that Microsoft now understands that it faces intense competition from both Apple and Google. Even if companies don't adopt Windows 10 faster, these improvements should at least make it easier for them to do when the time comes. That might mitigate any desire to leave so ultimately this is a smart play for Microsoft, even if it takes a while to pay off.
Daniel Kline owns shares of Apple and Microsoft. He wrote this on a MacBook Air and uses a Windows 10 laptop in his office. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.