We very recently published an article theorizing that Windows 11 was released prematurely as a work in progress: Windows 11 – A Work In Progress. Now I have formed another theory involving Windows 11 and the demise of Windows 10X. Windows 10X was a new operating system scheduled for release to coincide with a new dual-screen Surface model but was eventually abandoned.
First off, let’s take a look at Windows 11’s controversial history:
- 29th July 2015: Microsoft releases Windows 10 and avows it will be the very last Windows operating system
- 24th June 2021: Microsoft announces Windows 11 in complete contradiction with its earlier statement
- Microsoft shocks everyone with its stringent Windows 11 requirements
- 5th October 2021: Microsoft officially releases Windows 11
- Users complain about Windows 11’s deprecation of features, especially relating to UI elements
On 18th May 2021 Microsoft mentioned the demise of the Windows 10X project, buried toward the bottom of an unrelated announcement re the Windows 10 May Update:
Instead of bringing a product called Windows 10X to market in 2021 like we originally intended, we are leveraging learnings from our journey thus far and accelerating the integration of key foundational 10X technology into other parts of Windows ~ source
So, on 18th May 2021, the Windows 10X project is abandoned and just one month later the impending release of Windows 11 is announced. We now know that many of the UI changes in Windows 11 were taken directly from Windows 10X, including the fixed Taskbar and awful Start Menu. Here’s an image taken directly from a sneak preview of Windows 10X:
Obviously, Microsoft had invested many hours and potentially millions of dollars in developing Windows 10X, and porting those already developed UI elements over to Windows 11 not only somewhat justified that investment but also allowed for a much shorter development period for Windows 11. One can imagine the thought process among the hierarchy at Microsoft:
- Hmmm, we just spent millions developing a new operating system that has now been abandoned, how the heck can we justify that expenditure?
- I know, what say we release a new Windows called Windows 11 and utilize much of that investment into Windows 11
- Good idea, that should help ease the pain
- But we said Windows 10 would be the very last Windows version
- Oh, don’t worry about that, users will cop whatever we throw at them, no problem
Considering the sheer amount of time and dollars spent developing Windows 10X, plus the timing between abandoning 10X and announcing Windows 11, it sure makes sense that Windows 11 came about as a direct consequence of the demise of Windows 10X. What do you think?