Microsoft’s latest update upheaval will have long-term impact on Windows 10, affecting enterprise and small business upgrade scheduling and pushing consumers to continue working as free testers for the company.

The biggest news from Microsoft’s July 1 announcement about the-until-then-ignored Windows 10 1909 – the second upgrade of 2019, tagged with the firm’s yymm format – was that the company is scaling back feature upgrades, true feature upgrades, to just one a year. What had been the fall refresh would, in fact, shrink to the equal of an old-school “service pack,” last used with Windows 7.

Each spring, Microsoft was implicitly telling customers, it would issue a Windows 10 upgrade filled with new features and functionality; each fall, it would deliver a performance and reliability update based on the spring upgrade. That fall update would essentially be a more polished version of the spring feature upgrade, nothing more, with new features either absent or reduced to a minimum.

But the one-upgrade-a-year-is-enough revelation – as important as that is, what with Microsoft’s harping that its Windows-as-a-service (WaaS) strategy rested on multiple upgrades annually – was not the end of it.

Yes, 30 is more than 18