Windows 10, the next flagship Operating System (OS) announced by Microsoft has been confirmed to be offered for free by the Redmond based company. However, this move by the company may in fact be harmful for the PC industry that is already facing a slump.
Microsoft announced upgrades to its next-planned client operating system during a PR exercise earlier this week. They were obviously referring to Windows 10, since the company has evidently chosen to forgo the next logical iteration, which would have been Windows 9.
Windows 10, the company confirmed will be given as a free upgrade for 12 months to those running Windows 7 and 8.x. In other words, those who are running legitimate copies of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 will be entitled to a free upgrade to Windows 10. It seems Microsoft can't risk re-imposing charges on Windows 8.1 that it had started giving away for free on small-screen tablets.
However, there are a few confusing implications to the announcement. Microsoft's Vice President of Operating Systems, Terry Myerson, had proclaimed once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, Microsoft will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device "at no cost."
While the two statements are supportive of each other, it is really difficult to tell what Myerson meant exactly. Updates to Windows were already free and have always been free under Microsoft's product-support life-cycles. Having to pay to receive small updates has been unheard of in the Windows ecosystem. Myerson's clever caveat was about "devices." Since Windows 10 is supposed to be a unifying OS, how will the segregation take place?
Coming back to the "free" nature of Windows 10, perhaps Microsoft is desperate to re-establish its dominance in the PC market and has decided to remove all stops to ensure Windows 10 succeeds.
Microsoft makes a third of its money on selling licenses to PCs and tablets running Windows. Still, it gave away Windows 8 for free, but only to those devices with a screen of nine inches or less. Nonetheless, it is an accepted fact that Windows 8 did not perform as well as Microsoft had hoped. The majority of hardcore PC users are still steadfastly sticking with Windows 7, which is over 6 years old today.
Traditionally, the release of an iteration of Windows has been accompanied with either a surge or a dip in PC sales. From this perspective, Windows 8 and 8.1 have been a disaster. Though the slump in sales can be attributed to rise in usage of tablets, PC makers are well aware that Windows 10 needs to 'click' for their sales to pick-up.
Summing it all up, Microsoft may be planning to offer Windows 10 free for a year, but may start charging for incremental updates and upgrades. How much a year-old Windows 10 user be expected to shell out hasn't been confirmed yet.
[Image Credit | TheNextWeb]