Microsoft means business with Windows 10. We already know that Microsoft will offer every Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 user a free upgrade to Windows 10 when it launches this Summer, but earlier today they revealed a new piece of really interesting information. The offer will be extended not only to legitimate users of the Windows operating system, but also to people who are running pirated copies. That simple outreach to illegitimate users of their software is a master-stroke on top of what was already an ingenious plan.
The major theory behind getting everyone to update is simple: standardisation. If the vast majority of users across both Windows 7 and 8 accept the free update to Windows 10 then Microsoft can focus far more of it’s resources to the newer OS. With minimal machines left running Windows 7 and 8 the user base will die out more rapidly, and Microsoft won’t need to continue paying to support the older versions.
The advantage of standardisation isn’t purely financial either. Development of software will also be streamlined for a whole range of manufacturers. Knowing that the majority of users will be running Windows 10 software developers can focus their efforts on production for that OS. It might mean a sharp decline in compatible software for older versions, but ultimately it should make production quicker. It’s a better state of affairs for the end user too. If your running Windows 10 theoretically you should be able to run any modern program, that means less fumbling around with product specifications.
From Microsoft’s perspective offering users of the most proliferated versions of the Windows OS a chance to upgrade free of charge is a no-brainer. Whenever Microsoft releases an updated OS I’m willing to bet the amount of people who purchase new licenses for existing machines is woefully limited. I know personally I’ve never upgraded a version of Windows on a machine I already own. Like many of you I suspect I only get a new version of Windows when I buy a new computer or laptop. It stands to reason that Microsoft isn’t losing a great deal of profit by offering Windows 10 to current users for free.
It’s clear the cost advantages to Microsoft are substantial. Less upkeep for older OS versions, easier development for software companies and they’re not going to be missing out on too much money brought in by folks paying to upgrade. Microsoft’s standardisation isn’t limited to just computer systems either. Windows 10 will also be used on mobile devices, tablet computers and at some point Xbox One. Microsoft’s plan is to create one cohesive ecosystem where an end user can pick up any of their devices and immediately understand how it works. That incredibly admirable, if a curiosity. It’s not a smart idea to shoehorn an OS into something for the sake of uniformity, remember the Windows 8 start menu? Made for touch screen but hammered into a desktop, MS needs avoid that mistake here.
By now Microsoft has standardised their platform and looked good doing it. But the latest revelation really makes them look like the most caring understanding multi-national corporation ever. Microsoft will offer users running pirated versions of their OS the chance to go straight. Illegitimate users of Windows can update to Windows 10 just like anyone else. That’s pretty cool of Microsoft. But it’s also significant in that what they’re really doing is cracking down on piracy. Pirates are already paying nothing to run the OS so by giving them a legitimate key Microsoft loses nothing, only lowers the number of pirates out there. What sane person would run an illegal copy after being offered a legal copy for free? There’s no need to shop lift if the manager starts handing you food for free.
The true test of the plan will be when another version of Windows launches. Will the converted pirates pay for a new OS? Will they steal a copy for upgrade? Or will they like so many of us wait to buy a new machine and get the OS then? With Windows being pre-installed on nearly every PC free of charge these days I never do understand the motivation to pirate.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 plan is genius. It’s thorough and works entirely to their favour whilst making them look charitable. Not that I’m complaining, they get their standardisation and I get my free Windows 10 update. Roll on the summer I say.