When Microsoft said that Windows 10 would be free – did they tell a fib? Maybe they didn’t say what you think you heard. We know for sure that Windows 10 Enterprise is going to be on a subscription – but what about the personal version?
Windows 10 was issued in the summer of 2015, with a vague assurance that it was a “forever” operating system and that no more Windows versions would ever be built – just updates. Windows 10 upgrade would be free for personal users, for a year (actually about 18 months) and that updates would be provided for the “supported life of the device.” Free right?
Most people interpreted this as “Windows 10 is a new operating system which will never be replaced, only upgraded. Upgrades are free for the next year. After that date, an upgrade will cost about $150….” The end.
Some suspicious techies did pose the question about whether users would ever need to pay for updates. No new versions would be issued – so how was Microsoft going to make money off of that?
Microsoft assured everyone that the majority of income generated by Windows is in the purchase of new systems and that they were pursuing alternate revenue streams. Once again, they “assured” that they did not “have any plans” to charge for updates.
All the tech bloggers swallowed it. Hook, line and sinker – and published their blogs with a myriad of explanations of why it would be silly for Microsoft to do something so awful – like charging for updates.
In July, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 Enterprise (E3) versions (for business) will “be available” with a subscription – similar to Office 365 – about $7 per seat starting this fall.
There has been no announcement that they will begin charging for personal Windows 10 updates and when asked, they only have repeated that they do not “have any plans” to charge personal users for updates. So no charges right?
Before you breathe a sigh of relief, let’s take a close look at Microsoft statements.
They said the Windows 10 “upgrade” would be free when you upgraded from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, if you did it within the year. They said it was the last system, which would be updated in perpetuity. They said updates would be provided for the supported life of the device. They said they did not have plans to charge for the service.
Despite popular understanding, examination of these “carefully crafted” statements reveal a lot of space – things they did not say. Read between the lines and you will find:
- The “free” period has expired – the free upgrade period during which updates were also free.
- After that, it would be free for the “Supported life of the device”. But seriously, this does probably doesn’t mean – “until you bust this with a hammer”, it means “until we say so.”
- “No plans” to charge for updates probably doesn’t mean “We won’t do it”, it means that, “right this moment, we don’t have an organized, official, process documented for public consumption but don’t look at the whiteboard in Conference Room 12A.”
- Windows 10 is not the same as Windows 10 Enterprise but just because they are charging for Enterprise first, doesn’t mean personal Windows 10 won’t ever cost you a dime.
- Generating revenue from “alternate streams” is all well and good unless they don’t generate enough revenue. Microsoft had a $1.5 billion hole in its Q3 2015 revenues – meaning that their “alternate” revenue streams aren’t up to full speed.
With the new Enterprise charges, most tech bloggers are once again falling over themselves to spread the good news – No charges for personal users – Microsoft would never do something so silly.
A scarce few bloggers have surmised that there may be – at some vague point in the future – a time when they will re-evaluate. Most likely, when Windows 10 gets to the point where, under a different process, they would have issued Windows 11.
Here comes the kicker.
In August, a Windows 10 update was issued. Not the 50MB or 100MB update like usual, but the Windows 10 Anniversary update – 1.5GB. The original program was between 3 and 6 GB – depending on who you ask. The Anniversary update is a big enough deal that it will not reach all users until November.
The bonus is that if you are on a metered internet connection – the Anniversary update will burn 1.5G of your data – and it isn’t easy to stop. That’s one of the nifty things that Windows 10 did for you – you can’t control the download – only the installation.
Isn’t it odd that the huge Anniversary update comes at the same time as the new Enterprise charges? Wouldn’t it be interesting if there were another massive update, in the distant-but-foreseeable future?
History tells us that from Windows 1.0 OS issued in 1985, up until Windows 10 issued in 2015 – there have been 13 MAJOR versions. That is 2.3 years per version. Under “normal” conditions – the next version would be out….next year.
What’s the point
The point is…a prediction.
Updates of the “forever” system will not be free forever. Microsoft got us all used to the subscription idea with Office 365 and now they are starting the Windows charges with business. Though they haven’t said so, will move on to personal editions. Our guess – is next year.
Windows 10 does is provide Microsoft with a whole bunch of tracking information – one of the “additional” revenue streams and there is some rumor that Microsoft might be considering internal advertising. Actually, more than a rumor.
They are definitely directing users to Microsoft apps, some of which are not free and they are planning on hooking up with Android for the same reason. Plug that hole in the revenue.
With the tracking and resultant advertising, Old man Microsoft is trying a new way to keep up with GenX Google, who is struggling with Millenial Facebook. What will the #hashtaggers come up with that will challenge Facebook?
Source Tech Times