The idea of annual Windows releases is very interesting. The corporate customer of today gets stuck on a release and never changes.
In the past there have been issues. But the move from Vista to Windows 7 to Windows 8 is fairly painless. Except that nobody used Vista, so the move from Windows 7 to Windows 8 was painless as far as application compatibility was concerned. I have more issues with IE10 than Win8.
I already know what I don't want.
I don't wan't a separate corporate version from a consumer version. We had that back in 2000. We end up with home users using the corporate version and the corporate users mixing in the home version. It confuses everyone when at the end of the day it is still Windows. I don't want to be stuck waiting for features to show up in the corporate version.
I also don't want to be supporting 10 different installations of Windows. Now that I am installing x86 and x64 machines that I expect to be in service for about 5 years, I could easily end up with way too many versions to keep track of. That just kills automation.
I also don't want any more drastic or confusing changes that users will not understand. If you are going to release yearly, I do not want to retrain my entire user population on Windows basics every year. Not deploying Windows 8 because a single feature requires user training is annoying I would have rolled out Windows 8 to 10% of my workstations already if it wasn't for the start menu.
Here is how I see the landscape.
Upgrades would need to be smooth as a Service Pack. I am an advocate of fresh installs every time. I have advocated that for a long time. Windows 8 is the first release where I feel comfortable doing the upgrade and trusting the results. So they are already on the right track.
But I am still stuck in yesterdays environments with all of these thoughts. I see companies clinging to XP for no good reason as they rob themselves of all the advances that Windows 7 brought us. But that decade is over. Looking forward, the landscape is very different.
The transition to VDI is happening very fast. This presents us with something very unique. Especially when yearly updates come into play. Depending on your set up, a OS refresh could be almost instant. Users could leave one day and when they return the next day, they are running Windows Next.
If you look at how fast Microsoft is changing Hyper-V, we want to the OS to change just as fast. Microsoft nailed it for virtualizing servers. They want to move into the VDI game and a yearly OS refresh just fits into that so well. I can't wait. The more I think about it, it will be the corporate VDI customer adopting Windows Next quickly.