Making the upgrade to Windows 10 is the most important and bold step Microsoft has made. Dirt-on-the-surface seems simple and intuitive, but it represents a shocking and sudden change in both how users will relate to Microsoft and how Microsoft will move forward with Windows.
As longtime readers know, I’m an unsurpassed Apple fan – but I can appreciate a smart move when I see one, and no doubt, make Windows a free upgrade to a Smart move.
So what is Microsoft doing, exactly? Well, this is a funny question, as Microsoft succeeded in making a grand announcement, leaving a lot of questions, stating that hardcore Microsoft tech enthusiasts like Paul Thurrett and his commenting followers were scratching their heads .
On one hand, Microsoft said that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. So far, so good. This alone is very big news. Microsoft then stated that Windows 10 would be offered “as a service” for the supported lifetime of the device. Uh, what does this mean, exactly?
The devil is in the details
Unfortunately, Microsoft did not state what this “service” idea is. Nor did the company mention how it could work or what it might cost. This raises all sorts of questions, including how to manage clean installs, whether you can transfer the license to (or within) an enthusiast-built PC, or whether Microsoft will automatically push the update to your Windows 10 device – Even if you don’t want enhancements.
I suspect Microsoft doesn’t know the answer to these questions right now, and saying nothing is a way to buy some time. Alternatively, they may have a pretty good idea, but they will spark a spate of interest and speculation to refine the details before publicly announcing the terms.
I think this is a massive lack of clarity – accidentally vague or deliberately opaque, I have a hard time imagining that it instills confidence in consumers and enterprise customers.
A big deal
Microsoft’s problems have been caused by part of a fragmented Windows user base. First, it leads developers to build apps that serve at least the common denominator – an older version of the OS – or work much harder to enable features that are leveraged in newer versions Can go but can’t break in older versions.
Over time, this makes the construction and maintenance of apps expensive, as well as a pain in the butt. And customer support? Tough.
A large proportion of Windows users are running Windows 7, while another 20 percent or so may still use Windows XP, and some smaller segments are running Windows 8 or 8.1. Assuming that PCs running Windows XP are lost – outdated hardware owners with owners unable to upgrade or unable to upgrade – Microsoft remains a challenge.
Even if Windows 10 is terrible, the fracture running into at least three different versions of Windows, 7, 8, and 10 will be the user base.
It doesn’t help developers, it’s confusing for everyday consumers, and it takes enterprises to put them on a break and standardize on a version for a year or two.
On the other hand, Apple switched to a free Mac OS X years ago, and now a large proportion of Mac users are on the latest versions of Mac OS X. This number is also better for iOS.
More importantly, making the OS free creates a different level of customer engagement. Instead of figuring out if a release is worth buying, a customer simply has to download and install it.
Prior to this, Microsoft had to build a major new release of Windows that was able to motivate its customer base to purchase an upgrade. Also, it added weird consumer questions to the mix, such as, “Should I pay (US) $ 119 to upgrade from Windows 7 to move to Windows 7 … or should I not bother at all now Want to upgrade to a new laptop and maybe already have Windows 8.1 on it? ”
Fundamentally, making the move to free-for-ease eases the barrier, and this alone will help bring millions of Windows 10 users up to Windows 10 faster – and boom, Microsoft has third-party innovation There will suddenly be a more compelling user base to attract.
Where did the money go
The main reason for this is that Microsoft is essentially writing off a traditional stream of revenue, which some public companies are generally nervous about doing. This is deeper than filling a budget slot, however; Changing how Windows is distributed will change the entire term of how Windows is created.
Instead of forcing new features in a Windows release to create the most attractive OS – Spark to adopt the customer through its wallet – Microsoft can take a more measured view of how it innovates with Windows.