Windows 10 S was built to compete against Chrome OS in the education market, but it has not gathered much market share in the United States and Canada compared to Chrome OS, regular Windows devices and iPads.
The messaging on the software was always a bit messy, though, and the company didn't really do itself any favors by launching it on the high-end Surface Laptop.
The operating system was rolled out in May 2017 as a stand-alone version of Microsoft's OS for desktop. Understandably, it's been a bit hard to determine how to classify what's essentially functioned as a forked version of the company's broader OS. The Windows 10 S Mode is a simple modification of the stock Windows 10 itself, and it seems as if Microsoft is trying to focus on integrating the simplicity into their existing operating system rather than trying to build a whole new one for their low-priced devices.
We'll have to wait and see if Microsoft is keeping 10S mode exactly the same as Windows 10 S in terms of restrictions, or has tweaked them in some way.
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Belfiore, in a tweet on Wednesday, said, "Next year, 10 S will be a "mode" of existing versions, not a distinct version". For a $50 fee, any Windows 10 S machine can be transformed into a full-fledged Windows 10 computer.
Microsoft released the second Windows 10 "Redstone 5" test build to those in the Skip Ahead ring on March 7. In addition, Windows 10 Pro users having the mode enabled will need to pay $49 for acquiring access to the full version of the 10 Pro.
Some recent estimates suggest Chrome OS now owns about 60% of the United States education market in grades K-12. The release will come this Spring for non-insiders, and Microsoft says "This new design conveys focused information to help our customers make focused choices about their privacy and offers two new settings for Inking & Typing and Find my device".
Belfiore prefaced this reveal by stating "we", speaking for Microsoft, "use [Windows 10 S] as an option for schools or businesses that want the "low-hassle"/ guaranteed performance version".