Microsoft is notifying participants in its "Olympia Corp." test lab for Windows enterprise users that it will be shutting down the program. Officials are not commenting as to why they're doing so.
Chris Gahlsdorf, a Windows Insider Most Valuable Professional (MVP) tweeted last week about the pending shutdown. He linked on August 12 an email that his company received about the end of Olympia Corp. which said:
"Hi Olympia participant,
"We are sending this email to notify you that we will formally be shutting down the Olympia program in a month. We will be unassigning Olympia licenses and deleting the Olympia feedback path.
"Action Required: Take a backup of any data if you are using the provided Olympia licenses in the next 30 days, by September 12, 2022.
"Thank you for your participation and feedback :) Let us know if you have any questions!
Microsoft launched the Olympia program in 2017 as a kind of "Windows Insider Lab for Enterprise," meant to encourage Windows 10 Insider for Business testers to try out some of its coming business-oriented features. In 2018, Microsoft rebranded the lab as "Olympia Corp." and began to more actively seek Windows Insiders who wanted to try out pre-release Windows 10 Enterprise features.
I contacted Microsoft to ask why the company was discontinuing the Olympia Windows testing lab and was told by a spokesperson that the company had "nothing to share at this time." I also asked what the shutdown meant, if anything, for the future of the Windows Insider for Business program and received the same "nothing to share at this time" comment.
Gahlsdorf noted on Twitter that the Olympia lab was useful in terms of seeing how things were "supposed to work" when implementing in one's own organization. He added: "But they have so many demos and simulations now that maybe they think it will suffice?"
That was my guess, too, since Microsoft has been adding a number of new programs meant to try to convince businesses to move to Windows 11. The other possibility is Olympia was used so little that it didn't make sense for Microsoft to continue the program at a time when it is doing belt-tightening in the Windows and Office organizations.
In other Windows news, Windows Central is reporting that Microsoft may kick off the mainstream rollout of Windows 11 22H2, its lone Windows 11 feature update slated for calendar 2022, on September 20. Up until now, I had only heard talk that the 22H2 feature updates for both Windows 10 and 11 were likely to commence in September or October. Windows Central also hears that Microsoft may roll out some additional new features for Windows 11, including its tabbed File Explorer, the revised File Explorer navigational experience and Suggested Actions, sometime after 22H2 rolls out but before the end of calendar 2022.
Microsoft isn't talking publicly yet about its rollout calendar for its 22H2 releases.