When Windows 10 was not yet released, a spokesperson from Microsoft stood on stage talking about how important privacy is to Microsoft and literally ended with:
Because you are our customers — not our products!
(Loud applauds, and understandably so.)
Well, I probably don’t have to tell you what happened once it was released, but every time I have to reinstall my computer system, I’m absolutely appalled by the insane number of cryptic and ever-changing steps I have to take to force my Windows 10 Pro (the version I bought) into something that could be considered "just barely usable, if you forget all about privacy". Every last bit of joy has been sucked out of computers in the last 20 years.
It strikes me that this cannot possibly be what rich people see on their computers. It simply cannot. There must exist some kind of not-advertised Windows 10 version (possibly having existed since Windows 8 was first released or even before) which has all of this spying and insultingly dumbed-down consumer madness turned off/removed by default. I imagine that their version of Windows brings them immediately to a truly clean desktop and can instantly start installing whatever third-party software they need, without first having to go through this long ritual of steps from a long "laundry list" of objectively user-hostile defaults.
Basically, I’m convinced that there must exist a "Windows basic platform engine" with some sort of professional, polished GUI running on top of it which is quite different from the big, ugly mess that is presented to the general public as Windows 10. Something which, to the user, never or very rarely changes.
I simply cannot imagine that a rich person, who doesn’t like or want to use Apple/Mac computers (or simply need to use one or more of the numerous Windows-exclusive software products), goes through what I go through every time they set up a new computer or reinstall my current one. It’s a scene I just cannot believe happens. Just like a rich person would never put up with my living conditions, I don’t believe that they would put up with my "computing experience".
Maybe you’ll say that they probably just hire an expert to do it for them, and while that sounds reasonable for somebody who can afford it, would such a person really trust somebody else to set up their personal computer, this highly personal and central machine, for them properly and not make any mistakes or even add their own spying software for personal blackmail purposes?
I certainly would never let anyone, even if they have a big diploma from "Privacy University", install and set up Windows 10 on my "rich man’s" PC even if I had as much money as Bill Gates; there are many GUI-accessible settings related to updates and sending "samples" (personal files) to Microsoft by default related to the anti-virus product built into Windows, for example, which most people would more than likely miss even if they were tasked with this job and got paid dearly for it. And it keeps changing.
It simply doesn’t add up. Something is missing from the equation.
I assume that Bill Gates himself has a private build of Windows, but of course most rich people are far from his wealth and he also is the founder of the company, so it’s meaningless to focus on him for this question which is about "rich, intelligent, important people" in general. Take Elon Musk or somebody like that. (And please don’t try to convince me that he’s running Linux…)
Please note that I’m not talking about a "clean" copy of Windows 10, that is, one without all the extra garbage added in by the PC maker, pre-installed on most PCs you can buy in stores. I’m talking about a "clean ISO" directly from Microsoft. The most "vanilla" Windows 10 that you can get. The "intended" OS, which is so full of nonsense by now that I just cannot imagine having a secondary computer and having to maintain two of these things. There’s just too much stuff to disable and (attempt to) block.
Of course, I don’t think it’s actually called "Windows 10 for Rich People", but what do such people do? Just like they pay for so many other annoying/unpleasant/privacy-invasive things to "go away" for them, surely this must also be the case with computers?
PS: I’m aware of the "Enterprise" and "Enterprise LTSC" editions, but they are very specifically for mass-installations in companies, cannot be purchased normally and, having tried them out myself, are only very marginally better than the home/"Pro" editions in terms of spying, unwanted bloat and (lack of) polish, so I cannot accept these as the versions I’m referring to.