Microsoft has drastically increased its user base of loyal Windows 10 testers in recent years. In October 2014, the software maker released Windows Insider with its first public Windows 10 Technical Preview, and within just three months, the program counted 1.5 million members. In just over two years, the number of dedicated testers has grown to 10 million, according to Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group.

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Creating a “fan-centric” culture with Windows 10

Unlike Apple and Google, Microsoft does not look like a company that would concentrate this much on user feedback while creating an operating system version. The company developed Windows 7 and Windows 8 in complete secrecy, even punishing people who leaked early builds, but the tech giant is clearly changing its ways now.

Mehdi declared the milestone on LinkedIn, discussing the tech giant’s efforts to build a “fan-centric culture.” Mehdi said he has learned that one cannot create fans; they have to be earned. Revealing how he goes into a new product, the VP said the primary question is, “How are our fans going to react?”

Understanding new fans and opening up a development process to people has not been easy. But Mehdi believes that the Windows Insider program demonstrates Microsoft’s ability to create a connection with people.

How this program is helping Microsoft

With about 10 million testers helping the tech giant remove bugs from Windows 10 and the company giving insiders an early look at the upcoming features, the program has certainly been a success. Because of all those testers, the company gains valuable user feedback and telemetry data.

The user feedback comes fast and furious, offering the tech company criticism and praise about bugs and new features, Mehdi said.

“They have a relentless bar of what they expect, but it so inspires our team and drives our very focus on a daily basis.”

As for who can sign up to test Windows 10, there is no bar or qualification. Anyone can sign up to test Windows 10, which is why now 10 million people are assisting the company in refining and improving its OS. To participate in the Windows 10 development process and share your own feedback, join the Windows Insider Program.