Microsoft issues green light for Windows 10 2004. (But what’s the point?)

Microsoft last week gave the green light for Windows 10 2004, signaling to commercial customers that the May 2020 feature upgrade is now reliable enough for them to widely deploy.

“Windows 10, version 2004 is designated for broad deployment,” Microsoft stated in a terse message posted to the Windows release health hub. “The recommended servicing status is Semi-Annual Channel.”

Microsoft has taken to relying on the phrase “broad deployment” to tell enterprise IT administrators that it’s time to roll out a previously-released feature upgrade. It did the same in May 2020, when it vetted Windows 10 1909 as ready for business.

What’s remarkable about the declaration was not its appearance but its timing: More than eight months after launching Windows 10 2004 on May 27, 2020.

That lag was the longest yet for Microsoft, easily breaking the prior record of six and a half months set by Windows 10 1909 — 2004’s immediate predecessor. Earlier in Windows 10 life, the gap between launch and enterprise green light was much shorter, on the order of approximately four months.

This last cycle has made Microsoft’s recommendation largely meaningless, as by the time it arrived, 45% of Windows 10 2004’s 18 months of support had already expired. (Windows 10 2004 exits support on Dec. 14, 2021.) What would be the point of companies deploying 2004 when they would need to replace it in just 10 months?

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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