With Microsoft ending the year as the world's most valuable company, it is fair to say that 2018 was an incredible year for the software giant. Scans over thousands of articles we wrote this year, I have collected my picks for the best Windows and PC stories in 2017.
Here they are.
1. Windows as a (dis) service
Microsoft's controversial Windows system as Service (WaaS) for updating Windows 10 aggressively attacked 2018 on a high note: The last two functionalization updates were implemented at an ever faster pace, with Fall Creators Update as framework an unbeatable 85 percent share of the evening before the launch of the next feature update, called the update in April 2018.
But WaaS is limping out of 2018 with two major defeats behind it: that April 2018 Update was quietly delayed when Microsoft found someone showstop problems at the last minute. But the problems continued even after the update was released one month late. And in May I described this issue as "a shame".
I should have turned off this judgment, but: The next release, called the October 2018 update, was even worse.
This time, Microsoft did not stop delivering the update to after it had been prematurely deployed publicly. And it was obvious that Microsoft had a big problem with the software quality of the hands. Its response? Outer silence. For six weeks.
Six weeks .
This was, I thought, a failure. And when Microsoft finally started distributing the update again, nobody cared any more. It was good, since the software giant finally paused: The October 2018 update is installed on some low single-digit percentages of Windows 10 PCs as we enter the New Year.
If there is any good news to get here and that is random. Both of these features were updated on new features, unlike previous versions. And it's good: If Microsoft ever could figure out the reliability issues, we can finally get a version of Windows 10 that we can all be proud of.
2. Windows Demoted in Great Revolution at Microsoft
At the beginning of 2018, we took off a major Windows strategy protection at Microsoft that triggered some of the other top-rated foods listed below. But before the brand new news of Terry Myerson broke, the software giant made it clear that Windows was no longer a priority.
And so it happened: Microsoft announced that Terry Myerson, who is monitoring Windows 10 developments, would leave the company. As part of this change, Windows core development will move to the Azure group, new Windows user experiences will be created by a much smaller team, and no direct manager of Windows will be on the Microsoft Senior Leadership Team (SLT).
This triggered a lot of soul searching. For me, Windows 10 sees something awful because of in-box advertising, crapware bundling and nonsense's new features (the latter of which finally stopped this past year) have been gross.
I can only hope that 2019 gets better.
3. Microsoft Edge moves to Chromium
In May, I asserted that "Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 should be repurchased – re-created from scratch to work as it does on the mobile. It should be a user experience shell, a mobile app built on top of browser rendering, which in this case is called EdgeHTML and is part of Windows 10. "
So in September, I noticed that Microsoft Edge is what's wrong with Windows 10. Like Windows 10, Edge is full of nonsense features that get people will ever use. This made Edge "a complexity, a mess … full of inconsistencies."
Then the hammer fell.
In early December, Microsoft announced that it would cease to waste its time trying to make Edge compatible with web standards – a losing battle since its browser is updated only twice a year, and rebuilds it on Google's open source chrome engine. . Yes, it is doubtful; It's always. But this was the right choice for a browser that is basically a race, at best.
Granted, that's Microsoft. Then the announcement was vague on detail and poorly communicated. But after finding out some important details separately – for example, Edge will support Chrome extensions – even some doubters began to see the light.
"Microsoft reviews Chromium is all up," I wrote. "There is no bad news here at all. And with a sudden bright future, we can look back in 2018, for all its fears, like the time when the software giant finally started fighting back for Windows."
4. Windows 10 on ARM users in Always-connected PC era
2018 was the year we finally got to try Windows 10 on ARM on real-time shipping PCs. And the experience was … not positive.
The problems were many times. The first PCs, based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 chipset, provided a fantastic battery life and excellent, always-connected connection. But the performance was terrible, and the compatibility was enormously problematic.
Fortunately, Qualcomm has a plan. It launched a second-generation Snapdragon 850 chipset for PC at the end of 2018, with less performance gains, and it announced a much better Snapdragon 8cx in mid-2019 which will ultimately offer Intel Core i5 level performance. It worked with Microsoft to support 64-bit native (but not Intel) apps. And it brings both Chrome and Firefox to the platform as well.
Snapdragon 850 helps Windows 10 on ARM make sense, provided you can live with compatibility issues. But 8cx is where this platform really wants to take off. And it doesn't happen until next year.
5. Microsoft embraces Linux with Azure Sphere
We've seen headlines about Microsoft "embracing" open source and Linux many times over the past few years. But it wasn't until the software giant announced its own Linux-based client platform called Azure Sphere that this reality really hit home. Microsoft chose Linux over Windows because Linux is more composed and can be used on much lower hardware. And of course it fits well into Microsoft's wider "intelligent cloud, intelligent edge" mantra.
Some kind of makes you wonder about embracing Linux more generally, makes even more sense.
6. Microsoft lied about the number of users of Windows 10
Microsoft has a rich history of getting the errors wrong with Windows 10, considering early boasting about 1 billion active units within three years, but this is particularly disappointing.  In April, Terry Myerson said there were "nearly 700 million" Windows 10 PCs in use worldwide. And then the number did not change. For months. Finally, in October, the software giant said the 700 million figure was right.
Had Windows 10 usage been quiet for six months?
No. As it turns out, Microsoft had been artificially inflated by including virtual machine installations, most of which are only used for testing. It stopped counting the World Cup in early 2018, and it wasn't until October that reality went up with fiction.
On a related note, I spent a lot of time in 2018 and tried to figure out how many Windows PCs it was using worldwide. But Microsoft was finally clean in October: There are 1.5 billion Windows-powered PCs (all versions) used worldwide.
7. Windows 10 S fails, and so does the S mode
In January, I reported that Windows 10 S had been renamed in a recent Windows Insider build, for Windows 10 Pro in S mode. A few weeks later we discovered that this was part of a broader overhaul for the Windows offers. And that "S mode" would be something that could be offered for Windows 10 Home, Pro, or even Enterprise.
Windows 10 S, of course, was a big mistake. And there is no reason to believe that S mode will not be any less of a fault. But don't worry: Windows 10 Lean shows that Microsoft hasn't given up on this silliness yet.
8. Go Time: Microsoft finally offers another affordable Surface PC
With rumors suggesting that Microsoft was added to the affordable PC market with an overpriced cheap PC, I celebrated the move. But the resulting product, called Surface Go, is delivered on the basics: The performance is terrible, the battery life is terrible, and the keyboard is not full size.
Brad loved it of course.
9. PWA is not making a difference in 2018
I have been promoting Progressive Web Apps (PWA) as a future app platform for Windows and elsewhere since 2017, and with PWA supporting getting to Windows 10 in the first half of 2018, I realized we were on the verge of an apps renaissance.
It never happened.
To date, there are only a handful of high-quality PWAs in the Microsoft Store, such as Twitter. And competing cross-platform tools like Google Flutter, which are only aimed at Android and iOS, threaten to further undermine Windows.
The PWA revolution is simply a slow start. And that was not what I expected at all.
10. Microsoft's Bizarre Relationship with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3
Mapping Microsoft's Inability to Understand the Importance of both USB-C, which is a port type, and Thunderbolt 3, which makes the port more versatile than anyone else, is painful. So I'll just sum it up here.
Microsoft completed 2017 by supporting USB-C but not Thunderbolt 3-on Surface Book 2, giving us every hope that we would finally see the rest of the post moved to this not-so-new technology in 2018. Surface Go, released late in the summer, had a USB-C port. And then announced Microsoft Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2. None of these include USB-C.
What what ?!