Microsoft to control software updates for Windows 10 Mobile

Mobile carriers will test the updates, but Microsoft will ultimately determine when to roll them out.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Microsoft will control Windows 10 Mobile updates, not the carriers. Nate Ralph/CNET

Microsoft will decide when users of Windows 10 Mobile handsets receive the latest updates.

The software giant is working with mobile carriers to test software updates for its new Windows 10 Mobile operating system and will use their feedback, according to a statement sent Tuesday to CNET. However, it is Microsoft that "will decide when to send the updates out based on input from mobile operators and Windows Insiders."

By controlling the update process, Microsoft wants to avoid the problems that have plagued the Android ecosystem and wants to give consumers a new reason to pick its mobile software and devices over those from Google and Apple.

After Google releases a new update to its mobile OS, the gadget makers test it for each device model. The mobile carriers then conduct their own testing before the rollout can start for each individual device. That process forces Android users to wait weeks or months for a new update to arrive. This predicament has also led to the symptom of Android fragmentation where at any given time several different versions of the OS are floating about on user devices.

Microsoft's process will be somewhat akin to the one used by Apple, whereby the iPhone maker determines when to push out an update to its mobile OS. However, Apple exerts total control by testing and deploying each update without involving the carriers. With Microsoft's process, the mobile carriers won't be out of the loop. They'll still do their usual testing to make sure each update is secure and reliable.

Microsoft will also depend on testing from members of the Windows Insider program. Those who join this free program can get early releases of a new Windows update and then offer feedback to Microsoft so the company can perform any needed fine-tuning before general release. Microsoft relied on the Windows Insider program to help build Windows 10 based on comments and suggestions from members.

Ultimately, the goal for Microsoft is to ensure that all users get the necessary security patches and other updates in a timely fashion.

"The optimum way to ensure our customers are running the best Windows is to get them the latest updates for Windows 10," Microsoft said in its statement. "Delivering Windows 10 as a service means we can offer ongoing security updates, new features and capabilities -- we'd like to make sure people can get access to the latest Windows 10 updates as soon as they are available."

Windows 10 Mobile will make its debut on Microsoft's newest smartphones, the Lumia 950 and the Lumia 950 XL, which will reach consumers in November. But the general rollout of the new mobile OS will kick off in December, hitting the first wave of older Lumia models (including the 430, the 535 and the 930) as a free upgrade.

(Via WMPowerUser)

Update, 1:20 p.m. PT: Adds statement from Microsoft.