For once, Microsoft is smart to take a page from Apple’s playbook.
Change was the word du jour yesterday in the command post of a certain Redmond-based tech giant, as Microsoft held its most exciting press event in ages. Details, small and large, regarding Windows 10, the biggest leap in the platform’s history, flew from every direction, and on top of it all, the Surface Hub and a drool worthy concept dubbed Windows Holographic broke cover.
Chief among the surprises Windows 10 will bring to the table in the fall are probably Cortana voice assistance, a lightweight web browsing replacement for the decrepit Internet Explorer, and a free upgrade program for users of old OS iterations.
Yes, you read that right, everyone owning a legit Win 7 or 8.1 license has an easy, no-charge route to 10. Including mobile consumers currently on Windows Phone 8.1. Speaking of, it’s no longer a wild rumor. Microsoft will blend Win 10 for handhelds, tablets, laptops and desktops together for a closer-knit user experience, and remove the “Phone” from WP’s branding.
The “promotion” letting everybody jump on the 10 bandwagon free of charge is to expire one year after the new OS hits general availability, at which point an as-yet unrevealed fee will enter the picture. Meanwhile, hardware limitations may restrict some of you rocking older Win 7 systems to upgrade.
As far as Windows 8 goes, if you haven’t moved up to 8.1, you’ll need to before taking the next step.
Finally, there’s this pesky rumor making the rounds about how MS might enforce subscriptions once Windows 10’s first year of life is up, and require monthly or yearly payments to keep the copy activated and up to date.
But until hearing something clear and official vis-à-vis that ominous monetization strategy, we’d rather not jump to conclusions and preserve our optimism. After all, “allowing” us to use Windows 10 for free forever and ever is the only way we’ll ever forget how hard Windows 8 flopped. And Microsoft’s only chance to keep up with Apple’s now free-to-upgrade OS X.