Microsoft's efforts to pump up 1703's prowess probably won't meaningfully change enterprise plans, said Kleynhans, the Gartner analyst. "They're still heads down [with rolling out 1607]," he said. "When enterprises are focused on a goal, it's hard for them to see a slightly different goal on the side. By the time companies can pop their heads up, 1709 will be stabilizing and they will just skip 1703 and go straight to 1709."
If Microsoft follows past practice, it will announce that 1709 has finished in-customer-hands testing several months after its release, likely in the early part of 2018. That would give firms now running 1607 just a couple of months to get onto 1709 before the former version's support expires.
It's possible, said Kleynhans, that Microsoft may extend the lifecycle of Windows 10 1607 beyond March 2018 if corporate customers demand more time. The Windows 10 servicing model, which relies on a nearly constant pace of OS upgrades in the enterprise, remains a work in progress, he said.
"The best-laid plans won't always work out perfectly," Kleynhans argued. "It may all work out in the future, but it will take some give and take on both sides."
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