Windows 10 upgrade Path


There was a time when consumers referred to Microsoft as M$, the dollar sign to suggest that money was more important to the company than the quality of their product. Now, as if to underscore the change in business model, Microsoft will now be giving away Windows 10 to consumers as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Even pirated versions will be upgraded, and for the time being prior to official launch, it will function normally. However, once it hits launch date, pirated operating systems that were upgraded will go to a non-authorized state. The rest of us consumers running legitimate versions of Windows will be all set, as long as the software is upgraded within a year of Windows 10’s release this summer 2015.

Microsoft stated that consumers will be able to upgrade to windows and receive free upgrades to windows 10 “For the supported lifetime” of the device. This statement sounds pretty generous, though it also suggests that Microsoft will have the right to decide when your particular device is out of support. Microsoft has yet to be clearer on that determination.
The reason behind giving this upgrade away is that Windows 8 received a litany of criticism for being too different from everything Windows users were used to. Because of how different Windows 8 was, upgraders were quick to return to the old familiar Windows 7, and give 8 bad reviews, causing the more cautious users to never upgrade at all.

Microsoft plans to stick with Windows 10 on a longer basis than its typical 3 year release cycle, so they say. The idea is to release various system upgrades and features the same way they release security updates and patches, which essentially turns Windows into more of a service. All this above is great for the home users. Big business however, is another matter. Microsoft enjoys one thing that the other products don’t, and that’s the stranglehold Windows has on the corporate. This is what makes it necessary to have the separate frameworks, one for consumer and one for business. Businesses are always slower to adopt new software, operating systems in particular. This is due to several reasons, one of them being that many companies continue to use products that old or discontinued, and aren’t supported by the new OS. Additionally, changes in the user interface and software functionality are often jarring to users who are already trained to use software, and now need training for the new version.

I have had many clients over the years who had to keep one machine running some ancient version of windows, because their accounting software is old and won’t run on the latest (or even the last couple) releases of Windows. It’s also just as common that the owner or user simply refuses to upgrade for one reason or another. To facilitate the different needs of corporations, Microsoft will offer two methods for roll out to businesses, one being a little quicker than the other, but both are essentially a subscription based software assurance program. Microsoft is doing a few things here. Their Windows product is going to feel to me more like the Chrome OS or the iOS in terms of just being there, and upgrading over time from the cloud. Reminds me of phone upgrades in that respect. They’re handing out the OS for free to keep people from shying away from upgrading with that “What do you have to lose” sort of approach. They’re banking on more things selling in the Windows store and they’ll make up the revenue there. Once you’re in the new arena, there’s plenty of stuff to spend money on.

Almost feels to me like a “Free to Play” game that is WAY easier and a lot more fun if you spend money in-game with “Micro-transactions”. I wonder if we’ll get advertisements in the “free” version…

I’m curious to see how things evolve in the coming years. I wonder if the subscription based updates they’re proposing will work, as they have over the years for companies like Autodesk and Adobe. I wonder if Windows 11 or subsequent upgrades will require an active software assurance subscription for corporations.