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Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade 468

Posted by samzenpus
from the try-it-free dept.
mpicpp was one of many to point out this bit of news about Windows 10."Microsoft just took another big step toward the release of Windows 10 and revealed it will be free for many current Windows users. The company unveiled the Windows 10 consumer preview on Wednesday, showcasing some of the new features in the latest version of the operating system that powers the vast majority of the world's desktop PCs. The developer preview has been available since Microsoft first announced Windows 10 in the fall, but it was buggy, limited in scope and very light on new features. Importantly, Windows 10 will be free for existing Windows users running versions of Windows back to Windows 7. That includes Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows Phone. Microsoft specified it would only be free for the first year, indicating Windows would be software that users subscribe to, rather than buy outright. Microsoft Corporate Vice President of the Operating Systems Group Joe Belfiore showed off some of the new features in Windows 10. While Microsoft had already announced it would bring back the much-missed Start Menu, Belfiore revealed it would also have a full-screen mode that includes more of the Windows 8 Start screen. He said Windows machines would go back and forth between to two menus in a way that wouldn't confuse people. Belfiore also showed a new notification center for Windows, which puts a user's notifications in an Action Center menu that can appear along the right side, similar to how notifications work in Apple OS X. Microsoft Executive Vice President of Operating Systems Terry Myerson revealed that 1.7 million people had downloaded the Windows 10 developer preview, giving Microsoft over 800,000 individual piece of feedback. Myerson explained that Windows 10 has several main intents: the give users a mobility of experience from device to device, instill a sense of trust in users, and provide the most natural ways to interact with devices." More details are available directly from Microsoft.

Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

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  • by Timmy D Programmer (704067) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @01:55PM (#48867389) Journal
    I think the key question is what happens after the first year? How much does it cost after year 1? If you don't pay will it brick your PC or just stop providing updates?
    • by MisterBuggie (924728) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:01PM (#48867451)

      I think the key question is what happens after the first year? How much does it cost after year 1? If you don't pay will it brick your PC or just stop providing updates?

      I didn't hear anything about a subscription on the stream, but the stream is buggy, so maybe I just missed it.
      But what I understand is that upgrade will be free if done in the first year, like the 30€ upgrade to Windows 8 in the first few months. If you don't upgrade within the first year, you'll have to buy the new Windows.

      • by clorkster (1996844) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:29PM (#48867859)
        http://blogs.windows.com/blogg... [windows.com]
        Relevant portion:

        This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no additional charge.

        • by Optic7 (688717) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @03:17PM (#48868469)

          Reading that blog in more detail, I think I understand what they are doing. "Supported lifetime of the device" *probably* means that the license will be tied to the hardware and will not be transferable. Perhaps they will generally make licenses super-cheap, but not transferable? Or perhaps they will go subscription-only on new devices.

          "IT'S A TRAP!" may be appropriate here. We will find out for sure soon enough.

      • That was the impression I got from the article....similar to Win 8. I bought two licenses when they were $35 a pop (because they were CHEAP) and now they are priced similar to Win7 (~$100 or more depending on version).

        I would have no problem with a subscription model if it is not too expensive (less than $100 / year perhaps?), but a lot of normal non-IT / tech savvy folks will balk at that no matter how cheap....

        Not very many folks like on-going costs apart from car / house payments and utilities in my

    • by jbolden (176878)

      The updates are free forever on any device that at one point was licensed for Windows 7, or 8.1 and upgraded in the first year. What happens for devices bought with 10 is not yet announced.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:23PM (#48867781)

        That's not what it means. It means you have the choice to upgrade to 10 for free within 1 year. If you wait more than a year after release you have to pay. Anyone who got a free upgrade will continue to have a full 100% working and updated OS after the 1 year.

        This is exactly how they did things with 8. I don't know why the article author is pulling BS out of his ass.

    • by zlives (2009072)

      windows 11

    • by raymorris (2726007) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:11PM (#48867607)

      Not free as in free speech.
      Not free as in free beer.
      Free as in AOL. :)

    • by Tablizer (95088) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:21PM (#48867751) Journal

      what happens after the first year?...If you don't pay will it brick your PC...?

      It turns into Vista, the equivalent of a pumpkin.

    • by Holi (250190)
      You could just got to Microsoft's site where it is plainly stated:
      "once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no additional charge"

      Though I don't know who decides the "supported lifetime of the device".
    • by chmod a+x mojo (965286) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:51PM (#48868135)

      That's the thing, is the upgrade "free for the first year" meaning you don't have to pay for the upgrade license , or is it "free for the first year" meaning after a year you have to pay some kind of subscription fee.

      For the time being I am leaning towards the first option since I haven't read anything yet that says MS will have a subscription for the OS ala Office 365 ( if there is official confirmation please do let me know! ).

      A subscription for an OS just seems awkward, with too many hurdles to jump. I.E. how long a grace period for renewal, IF there is an auto-renewal option how hard is it to get canceled, especially for business what happens when the version you are on - and don't want to upgrade away from - is EOL'd... I still use a networkless Win98 machine due to upgrade costs to the machine it is connected to being $50K+ just to upgrade from a P2 / Win98 setup.

      Then again it _is_ MS we are talking about, they would probably just charge ahead without thinking like usual.

    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      The Ars Technica post [arstechnica.com] was a little more useful and less FUD-ridden, although I won't hold my breath til I see it directly in Microsoft product marketing materials:

      Update 2: A blog post from Terry Myerson clears up what "Windows as a service" means, though the duration of "the supported lifetime of the device" is still foggy. "This is more than a one-time upgrade," writes Myerson. "Once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device—at no additional charge

    • I wonder if the server version of Windows 10, likely Windows Server 2015 or 2016, will have a similar update program, or if it will follow the same steps as previous server versions.

      Windows Server editions are not as flashy as the client releases... but a single feature or set of features can impact the enterprise in a very large manner. For example, the deduplication ability of Windows Server 2012 and Storage Spaces/ReFS has put the OS near parity with ZFS for defending against bit rot, and the ability to

  • Please no... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Detonia (3694291) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @01:56PM (#48867401)

    indicating Windows would be software that users subscribe to, rather than buy outright.

    I sure hope that indication is wrong.

    • by reikae (80981)

      I don't like it much either. On the other hand, if it meant that support was available as long as there are enough subscribers I think many people would come to like it; especially if they grandfathered (not sure I'm using the term correctly here) XP and Server 2003 into the plan...

      • by jbolden (176878)

        They are going in the opposite direction for home / small business. Shorter cycles and less support. More like the phone model where OS versions turnover fast and everyone is expected to be running the latest.

        • Re:Please no... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @03:09PM (#48868375) Homepage

          I think you're right, and Apple has done something similar. I actually think Apple's move was very smart. By encouraging people to stay up to date with the latest version, they significantly cut the demand for legacy support, which in turn, I'm sure, cuts their support costs in general.

          Microsoft can't do quite the same thing, though. While Apple has always treated software as a loss-leader to sell hardware, Microsoft has relied on Windows licensing as a pillar of their business. I suppose they can give the desktop OS away for free, indefinitely, as a loss leader to sell other associated software/services (Office 365, Windows InTune, Windows Server, Exchange, and whatever else), but I would imagine that would be a significant change in their business model.

      • Or I am thinking EOL would mean 100% kill. You login and system says subscription expired. Whole system locked and choice is to throw it out or subscribe to a newer OS

        Fun for embedded devices and scada. Lol

    • Re:Please no... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:07PM (#48867551)

      Considering they pulled it out of their ass, I'd say it is wrong.

      Free for 1 year doesn't mean they start charging after one year. It means you have the option to upgrade for free for one year after release. If you wait more than a year then you have to pay.

      Whoever wrote this article has no reading comprehension skills.

      • Re:Please no... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @03:25PM (#48868569)

        I read the original article this is sourced from. And then I read the small print at the bottom of the article that most people missed.

        The article is actually spot on if you read the small print. But it looks like it's wrong if you just read the main article.

        The main article states the following:
        "We announced that a free upgrade for Windows 10 will be made available to customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 who upgrade in the first year after launch.*

        This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no additional charge."

        Note the asterisk.

        Now here is what it says in small print under the article:

        "*Hardware and software requirements apply. No additional charge. Feature availability may vary by device. Some editions excluded. More details at http://www.windows.com./ [www.windows.com]"

        This basically let's them downgrade the "free version" into shitty "limited edition" and then ask for sub money for "full edition".

        The issue here is that Microsoft pulls a lot of money from windows tax. I seriously doubt that they are willing to lose this money. Either we're looking for an upgrade as a desperate means to push windows app store upon people (which doesn't exist in 7, which majority of PCs are on) or this is a classic "try before you buy" scheme which downgrades the OS after a year "trial". Either way, we just don't know. Original article's claim of "no charge" promise is pretty much gutted by the "feature availability" caveat. We'll have to wait and see what they do.

        • by DaHat (247651)

          Among the non-shills of us who actually are capable of independent thought... what you describe is a possibility, but probably not a likely one.

          Can a phone do everything that a desktop can? Usually not, so doesn't it make sense to tailor the version of an operating system for a given device?

          Microsoft has sold different editions of Windows for years, each with different or overlapping checkboxes on a feature matrix. A device running a 'Ultimate' edition will probably have different capabilities of a 'Home',

        • "*Hardware and software requirements apply. No additional charge. Feature availability may vary by device. Some editions excluded. More details at http://www.windows.com./ [www.windows.com]" This basically let's them downgrade the "free version" into shitty "limited edition" and then ask for sub money for "full edition".

          Not sure how you got that interpretation from the disclaimer. This is how it reads to me:

          Feature availability may vary by device

          Don't expect your Windows Phone to get all of the features that your laptop has.

          Some editions excluded:

          The limited netbook versions of 7 (Home Basic, I believe), and Windows 8 RT can't be upgraded to Windows 10. (Just a guess, I'm not sure if RT can or can't be upgraded, or if Home Basic is excluded).

          Microsoft has made some stupid mistakes in the past, but I'm a fan of their new direction, and I can't see them bricking an OS right now. T

  • It is very interesting reading that comment that people are going to be on a constant upgrade path like Apple. I can see that for home / small business. For companies though they often have the right to upgrade it is the compatibility and uniformity that present the problem.

    I'm wondering if Microsoft's intent is to fork home / small business away from enterprise; returning more to the strategy in the Win NT 3.51 - Windows 2000 days.

  • No (Score:4, Interesting)

    by A Friendly Troll (1017492) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @01:59PM (#48867431)

    It doesn't "indicate" subscriptions.

    It says pretty damn clearly that the upgrade to Windows 10 costs exactly 0 if you upgrade during the first year after it's released.

    English, motherf***er. Do you speak it?

    • That is how several people who saw the presentation interpreted it. Watch it for yourself and see if you agree [microsoft.com]. You don't have to rely merely on Slashdot summaries.
  • Microsoft just took another big step toward the release of Windows 10 and revealed it will be free for many current Windows users.

    Alright, it's about time...

    Microsoft specified it would only be free for the first year, indicating Windows would be software that users subscribe to, rather than buy outright.

    Are you kidding me? Seriously. Are you kidding me? I have half a dozen old computers running XP that are a decade old. You really expect the future model is that I would have had to pay for these machines YEARLY all this time? Is this the only payment model they have, or is that just a free-upgrade-scheme thing?

    I'll stick with Windows 8.1 if that's the case.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      I have half a dozen old computers running XP that are a decade old.

      Why do you think they would want to enable that sort of behavior?

      • So that people continue buying Microsoft whenever they feel like it instead of pushing them toward free alternatives like Linux and BSD?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @01:59PM (#48867439)

    If you aren't paying for it, then you aren't the customer.

  • by sitkill (893183) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:01PM (#48867459)
    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets... [arstechnica.com]
    "Once a device is upgraded to Windows 10, we'll be keeping it current for the supported lifetime of the device," said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Operating Systems Group.
    Sounds like it could be either.
    • by Dan East (318230)

      Mashable has misinterpreted the "Free upgrade within a year".
      More info from ars technica:

      Microsoft has just announced the first pricing information for Windows 10 at its preview event today. The biggest news is that the new OS will be completely free for current Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 users for its first year of availability—after that time period has expired, OS upgrades will presumably need to be paid for as they are currently (though Microsoft was less than clear on this point, it made no mention of a paid, Office 365-style subscription for Windows upgrades). The Windows 10 upgrade for Windows Phone 8.1 users will also be free.

  • > indicating Windows would be software that users subscribe to

    Jesus christ whatever happened to buying software and then owning it?
  • Google and Android are now getting old. And so are Apple and its iPhone's and Mac's. It's about time we see newer companies like Microsoft, Xiaomi etc. come up with amazing new products. Although I do agree that it will be hard for a new and small company like Microsoft to break-in into big markets, but so were Google and Apple many years ago. I wish companies like Microsoft, Xiaomi all the best.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I realize you're trying to be funny, but I think that MS actually avoided some of the pitfalls that Android and iOS fell into because they entered the phone/mobile market so early. iOS and Android both have decided that only 1 app will be on the screen. Which is fine for a 4 inch phone, but for 10 inch tablets, it's really nice to be able to be able to have 2 apps (or even more) on the screen at the same time. Android has a ton of deprecated APIs because they realized that they weren't doing stuff the righ
  • by danbob999 (2490674) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:03PM (#48867489)
    McAfee free for 30 days. Windows 10 one year. What a hell it will be to buy a Dell laptop next year.
  • by nimbius (983462) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:07PM (#48867547) Homepage
    Windows 3.11: Better than dos!
    Windows 95: now 32 bit!!
    Windows 98: uh...3 more than 95!
    Windows ME: grinds cats into freezer meat!
    Windows XP: We've been told you dont want or like having cats ground into freezer meat...so this one doesnt do that. also we're doing letters now for real instead of numbers. Dont question it..
    Windows Vista: Reboot simulator included!
    Windows 7: ok so lets just do numbers again. 7 is less than 95, plus 3.11 minus the square root of 2000 is....eh....we changed the start button for you
    Windows 8:: Hello there youths! we're told you like touched screens! Also we have an app store now and that has always been there. check out the full-screen start menu there now isnt that nifty?
    Windows 9:: Maadamme Romani threatened to unravel my lifeweave if we ever used 9. seriously. its cursed. also all our code would mistake it for 95 or 98.
    Windows 10: We gave you back the start button, but also included a mini start screen in it as a big fuck you for not accepting the start screen. Also its free...because uh...Ubunt...er...apple is still our competitor...yeah.
  • by dm513 (1377097) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:07PM (#48867553)
    From what i've read on other sites...free for a year means...that they will offer the upgrade free for just one year...If you want to update to Win 10 later...you'll have to pay...I've seen nothing to indicate that means Windows is going subscription.
  • Free? Is it April 1 already. Damn time flies

  • I would rather chew off my own foot.

    Or, rather less potentially painfully, simply install Linux.

  • Dear Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DickBreath (207180) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:15PM (#48867659) Homepage
    Please remember the words of your younger, wiser self. If it is free, then it must not have any value.
  • by Danathar (267989) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:18PM (#48867697) Journal

    If you are building a home PC, it's still going to cost you around $100 for the software. Big OEM producers, current license holders get to upgrade or install for free.

    But screw you home builders. Pay the tax to join the club. No free OS for you. Once you are "in" THEN you can upgrade for free.

  • I wonder if the days of selling Windows are over. Sure, at the worst, it could be a subscription service, but it could be that Microsoft realizes that on the consumer side, people just get the OS on their PC. Or, they are hoping enough people will get back on board with Windows and they can sell Windows 11 when it comes out.

    On the enterprise side, businesses already have licensing, so they are already on the subscription model.

    Anyway, I'm more interested in what you can turn off and opt out of. For example.

  • They've managed to find yet another way to screw it up mere nanoseconds before reaching the finish line?

  • Not trying to flunk the common core "new" math propagation series, but shouldn't version NINE follow version 8 and be before 10 (as in 8, 9, 10)? Perhaps this has been discussed herein with scholarly vigor, but I must have missed the explanations as to why there is Nein Nine...?
  • > Microsoft specified it would only be free for the first year,

    Continuing the practice of using early adopters as unpaid beta testers, I see. Whatever revenue they lose with this practice will more than be made up in all the free bug reports.

    Initially you could get Windows 8 for $49. I couldn't pass that up, but in retrospect it was a lot of hassle for nothing (as I ended up regening windows 7 on the machine). The only saving grace is that I fixed a registry glitch regarding screen resolution, and lat

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @02:29PM (#48867869) Journal

    The linked article has Pete Pachal's unfounded speculation that Windows 10 will be an annual subscription, touting it as fact.

    The actual quote from a MS executive is, "Once a device is upgraded to Windows 10, we'll be keeping it current for the supported lifetime of the device," said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Operating Systems Group.

    So, no, you won't be losing your upgrade after a year. Like Apple, once your device has reached it's supported lifetime MS isn't guaranteeing that you'll be able to upgrade anymore and you'll be stuck with an OS that has basically been EOL'd as far as support is concerned. This is really a way to (1) get you on the hardware upgrade train (2) reduce version fragmentation in the Windows sphere and (3) reduce legacy OS support for the vast majority of MS users.

  • by OldSport (2677879) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @03:15PM (#48868451)

    The previous 200 comments have not satisfactorily answered the question: will it be free forever or subscription based?

  • Beware ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @03:15PM (#48868455)

    ... of Geeks bearing gifts.

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @03:27PM (#48868593)

    Used to be computers were replaced every year or two and at most 3, giving Microsoft a short turnaround in selling Windows for continual income.

    With hardware being more reliable and in more of a limited set of new features, people don't need to upgrade as often and MS sees their OS income in long term decline.

    Anyone who tells me Microsoft is not moving toward yearly subscriptions is doing spin.

  • by Talonius (97106) on Wednesday January 21, 2015 @04:09PM (#48869071)

    Great news! We will offer a free upgrade to Windows 10 for qualified new or existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices that upgrade in the first year!* And even better: once a qualified Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it up to date for the supported lifetime of the device, keeping it more secure, and introducing new features and functionality over time – for no additional charge. Sign up with your email today, and we will send you more information about Windows 10 and the upgrade offer in the coming months.

    Blows the subscription model idea out of the water.

    • Ars Technica was present at the announcement, and the Q&A afterward [arstechnica.com] was both insightful and confusing. They clarify [arstechnica.com] the free upgrade to Windows 10 as follows (emphasis mine):

      Update: Microsoft fielded some questions about this upgrade in its Q&A session after the event. The company "hasn't decided" how it will handle upgrades from Windows 7 or 8.1 after the first year of Windows 10 availability ends, and it is "working on an update for Windows RT," but doesn't have further details to share.

      Update 2: A blog post from Terry Myerson [windows.com] clears up what "Windows as a service" means, though the duration of "the supported lifetime of the device" is still foggy. "This is more than a one-time upgrade," writes Myerson. "Once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device—at no additional charge."

      It seems to me Microsoft is still keeping the details close to the vest. So, for my money, the jury is still out for what happens in a year.

      Still, as a strategy to get people to move off Windows 7 in a hurry, this is pretty good [arstechnica.com]. You'd only wonder what would have happened to the XP user base if Vista or 7 had been free. On the ot

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