Windows 10 is a fundamental shift from Microsoft's previous practice of developing and releasing operating systems for client and server devices.

Windows as a Service changes the development and release model by publishing a continuous stream of feature updates to the operating system opposed to publishing feature updates as service packs or individual updates.

Microsoft releases two feature updates per year which introduce changes, new features, and improvements to Windows 10 devices. Updates are delivered to Windows Insider devices first before they are pushed to home user devices and later on to devices running Pro or Enterprise versions of Windows 10 provided that they have been configured to delay feature updates.

Microsoft's Next-Generation operating system

A recent press release by Synaptics, named, Synaptics, AMD Collaborate on Enterprise-Grade Biometric PC Security for Next-Generation Microsoft Operating System, suggests that Microsoft is working on a next-generation operating system already.

The press release does not reveal much about Microsoft's Next-Generation operating system other than that it will support Enterprise-Grade Biometric PC Security and that Microsoft appears to be working on a "biometric security OS" that includes Windows Hello.

Synaptics Incorporated (NASDAQ: SYNA), the leading developer of human interface solutions, together with AMD, today announced a joint initiative centered on delivering a new industry benchmark in highly-secure biometric fingerprint authentication for enterprise/commercial and consumer notebook PCs based on next-generation AMD Ryzen™ Mobile platform and Microsoft’s next-generation operating system. The collaboration brings a new level of security for AMD-based laptops by leveraging Synaptics’ unique FS7600 Match-in-Sensor™ fingerprint sensor technology with powerful AMD Ryzen Mobile processors, and Microsoft’s forthcoming biometric security OS including Windows Hello.

The press release leaves many questions unanswered. Microsoft revealed in 2015 that Windows 10 will be the last operating system but that meant merely that Microsoft would not release a Windows 360 three years after general availability.

The next-generation Microsoft operating system could just be a reference to a future version of Windows 10 that Microsoft develops. Considering that AMD-based laptops powered by Ryzen Mobile and Windows Hello are mentioned in the press release, it seems likely that this is indeed the case.

Windows 10 will be supported until at least 2025 according to Microsoft (even though support is not guaranteed for individual hardware configurations). You can check out our overview of the latest Windows updates and service packs here.

I would not rule out the development of a next generation operating system but if that is indeed the case, it would likely be a specialized operating system as Microsoft would not want it to compete directly with Windows 10.

To sum it up: Microsoft's next-generation operating system is most likely a reference to future versions of Windows 10 and not an entirely new operating system that Microsoft develops.