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Microsoft is sick of you not upgrading, and has a solution: Windows 10 will be the final “version” of Windows. Ever.

This is called Windows As A Service, and it’s a big deal. To understand what it means, think of Gmail or Facebook: longtime users know these services have changed over the years, but there aren’t “versions” of them. There’s no Facebook XP, or Gmail 7 – there’s just Facebook, and Gmail, both of which change over time.

Windows, apparently, is going to be like that. Microsoft’s Terry Myers explains:

And just like any Internet service, the idea of asking ‘What version are you on?’ will cease to make sense.

This is a big change from Redmond. Even more surprising: Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for current Windows 7 and 8 users Is Your Computer Compatible with Windows 10 & Can You Upgrade? Is Your Computer Compatible with Windows 10 & Can You Upgrade? Windows 10 is coming, possibly as soon as July. Are you eager to upgrade and will your system be eligible? In short, if your computer runs Windows 8, it should also run Windows 10. But... Read More . What’s Microsoft’s plan here? They want Windows 10 to be the dominant desktop operating system – bigger than Windows 7 – quickly, to speed up development and ensure Windows’ longterm dominance as a desktop operating system.

Will Windows Be a Subscription Service?

It’s worth noting that a free upgrade doesn’t necessarily mean Windows 10 won’t cost anything Windows 10 Upgrade - Free Doesn't Mean It Won't Cost Anything Windows 10 Upgrade - Free Doesn't Mean It Won't Cost Anything There's a catch to the free Windows 10 upgrade. Microsoft understands its audience all too well; they are more likely to pay for the freedom of control, rather than for extra features. Read More , but no subscription fee for OS upgrades is coming – at least, not one for home users. Instead, Microsoft is trying to simplify its ecosystem by creating a world where they – and developers – don’t need to keep track of various Windows versions anymore. A world where everyone can assume that the vast majority of Windows users have the most recent updates, with all recent features.

Two things force Microsoft’s hand here:

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  1. Windows users seem less inclined than ever to pay for OS upgrades.
  2. Apple and Google dominate mobile, and have trained people to expect OS upgrades for free.

The result is a world that Microsoft needs to keep up with, and Windows As A Service is their answer. Let’s look more closely at how things have changed, and what Microsoft might be planning.

The Old Model: Software as a Product

It’s hard to imagine now, but Windows 95 was arguably the iPhone of its day in terms of hype. Microsoft spent millions on advertising, convincing The Rolling Stones to sell out so Bill and Steve could dance at a release party.

This massive advertising budget was probably worth it. Windows 95 was a $210 operating system ($320 adjusted for inflation) that people not only paid for, but lined up outside of stores at midnight to get. Microsoft sold $30 million dollars worth of Windows 95 on day one – then the fastest selling software in history, by far.

And it wasn’t a rip off: Windows 95 improved on Windows 3.1 in almost every way, including stability, user interface, and speed. Considering that low-end computers sold for over $1,000 in 1995 ($1500 with inflation), it wasn’t completely insane to spend a couple hundred on an operating system.

Today the situation is completely different.

The Windows XP Problem

Put simply, in the 21st century most people don’t pay for operating system upgrades. Instead, they pay for new devices, then use whatever comes with the device until it dies. There’s not really a compelling reason for people to change that habit, because OS upgrades don’t offer the vast improvements seen between Windows 3.1 and 95.

Microsoft knows this. It’s been almost 15 years since Windows XP came out, yet by some measures almost as many people use XP today as Windows 8 and 8.1 combined. From Wikipedia:

operating-system-comparison

Security updates for Windows XP lasted a really long time Windows XP Lasted Longer Than World Wars I & II Combined Windows XP Lasted Longer Than World Wars I & II Combined Think Microsoft is letting Windows XP die too soon? You're not alone. Many think this is a cash grab. What if I told you Windows XP is the longest supported version of Windows ever? Read More , and Microsoft was paying engineers to write XP updates after the release of Vista, 7, and 8 – doing that isn’t cheap. Even today, a year after XP security updates stopped altogether, nearly 16% of computer users – millions of people – still use Windows XP. That means millions of computers running on Windows-branded software are now vulnerable to all sorts of exploits.

This also means anyone writing software for Windows needs to keep four very different versions of that OS in mind, and basically ignore features unique to new versions of Windows, to not alienate a significant portion of PC users. This fragmentation is a problem for Microsoft, who wants their ecosystem to be appealing for developers – and for their latest features to be taken advantage of.

Android, Apple and the Rise of the Free Upgrade

Meanwhile, on mobile, people tend to upgrade their devices quickly when possible – because upgrades are free.

Google famously gives Android away, hoping to earn money from advertising. Operating system upgrades for the iPhone have always been free – money is made from hardware sales. Apple briefly experimented with charging for iOS upgrades on the iPod Touch, but hasn’t done so since 2010.

At this point, mobile users expect operating system upgrades to be free. The same is true for some desktop users.

In 2000, Apple’s OS once wasn’t terribly different from Windows – at least in terms of pricing. Your computer came with an operating system, but if you wanted the new version a couple of years later you had to pay more than $100.

That ended in 2013, when Apple released Mavericks for free OS X Mavericks is Free: Here's How To Get It & Why You Want It OS X Mavericks is Free: Here's How To Get It & Why You Want It Apple really outdid itself this time. The words "software sells hardware" never rung more true, and now that OS X Mavericks is free to all, isn't it about time you got on-board? Read More . Today Mac users expect such free upgrades. Perhaps more importantly, Mac developers quickly implement new OS X features into their software, because they’re confident users will upgrade quickly.

These changes left Microsoft as the last company charging for operating system upgrades – and patching old versions of operating systems they no longer sell.

Why Home Users Won’t Pay for Updates

In Microsoft’s ideal world, millions of people would pay hundreds of dollars for operating system upgrades, and try to always stay up-to-date. That world doesn’t exist anymore.

Microsoft has accepted this, and will try to make their consumer Windows money almost entirely from selling Windows licenses to device manufacturers (which is where most of their money currently comes from anyway) and their own hardware sales (a growing segment of the company).

Meanwhile, they can stop supporting old versions of Windows – which is sure to help keep costs down. For this reason it’s clear that a subscription service for home users would be suicide, and reports from inside the company suggest that there won’t be one.

It seems clear that Microsoft will offer an ongoing “subscription” to big companies, in the form of volume licensing – IT managers will happily encourage management to pay for them in exchange for support and more control over how upgrades work. Home users, however, will see free, mandatory operating system upgrades for the life of any given computer.

A unified platform makes life easy for software developers – who Microsoft needs to keep happy to ensure the success of their operating system over the long term. You’ll keep using Windows if the best applications are Windows-only, or at least supported on Windows, so anything that makes that likely is helpful for Microsoft in the long term.

Conclusion: A Brave New World

If Windows XP’s stubborn persistence teaches us anything, it’s that millions of people are perfectly content to use an insecure operating system in exchange for not having to pay for an upgrade – and this bogs down everyone hoping to develop software for Windows. Meanwhile, Apple and Google have taught people to expect operating system upgrades free of charge, and their ecosystems are thriving.

To keep their platform compelling, Microsoft needed to change something. Windows As A Service, it seems, is Microsoft’s plan for adopting to today’s world. Let’s talk more about what this all means in the comments below.

  1. Akash Ramdial
    November 1, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Its not about security. Home users of XP use anti-viruses anx firewalls for security. They are fed up with purchasing a device that supposedly has an OS only to find out its a trial and you have to pay for the full version. That's fraud.
    More importantly XP is stable. Vista was crap. 7 is stable. 8 is crap. See the pattern? XP does not crash or give problems that requires one to contact Microsoft's help desk that is actually a non-help desk.

    M

    • Zach
      November 7, 2016 at 7:30 am

      Let me be honest with you, I've contacted the help desk multiple times in the last few days and they helped me a lot. It was a stupid situation I got stuck in and they helped me free of charge. What happened was: The current Anniversary Update caused a lot of problems for gaming in general. Lots of FPS drops across the board for some games. Thankfully most of mine were ok. The ones it did affect, I never would have expected. They were low spec games but were really fun to play but would actually end up freezing and crashing or just running REALLY slow.

      I contacted someone from the help desk to help me get to a previous build of Win 10 as all of my efforts to roll back on my own had failed miserably. They helped me achieve that goal finally only to give me another issue. Build 1511, tho I didn't have issues with it BEFORE AU, now caused me considerable amounts of hell. Build 1511 broke in places I didn't even find conceivable. The Start menu broke (so there goes every feature ever), the search tool bar, Cortana, was busted and couldn't be launched (Ok so now I'm in REALLY deep crap) and so I was left with... quite literally nothing honestly. Win 10 even forgot I owned the OS. So I contacted the help desk again to see if we could fix the issue which was just go back to the AU. Everything worked out in the end, most of the games I had issues with were fixed but... the point is they helped me out a lot.

      That's not to say I didn't do extensive research into why all of this was happening. I even tried applying "fixes" to my problems and it gave 0 results so the help desk was a good choice.

  2. vft1963
    November 1, 2016 at 12:44 am

    in my 33 years of using/coding, windows 10 is the friendliest OS for users and developers, by far

  3. Jacques de Hooge
    April 6, 2016 at 9:20 am

    I don't think the reluctance to upgrade has much to do with costs. Every time I buy a new laptop I start with a perfectly working system. And with every upgrade something breaks. Until at last my sound doesn't work anymore, or my function keys, or the mouse pad on my laptop, or all of that and many other things. Moreover my computer becomes slower and slower and slower, until I feel forced to buy a new one.

    I am tired of that. I like to use things as long as they're good enough. I don't want to have to rediscover with every release where this or that feature has been hidden now. I don't want one of the many installed software packages to stop working.

    I understand that software companies want to make money. But make it by producing something that improves my life, not by forcefeeding me with needless bells and whistles.

    I can decide for myself if I need new functionality and will go shopping for it. I don't buy anything from people ringing at my frontdoor. And I don't install anything from companies stalking me over the internet with new versions that solve their problems, not mine.

    • Greg A
      June 14, 2016 at 1:36 am

      Well said!

    • HTD
      October 26, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      But the OS you use is not entirely your business. Others use it too and need different features. How to reach consensus over this? I have an idea - most features should be optional. Well - it seems like Windows 10 works this way. I can disable / uninstall most of the features I don't use. Some of it requires tricks, I'm not happy about it.

      OK. Some features require severe system-level changes. It's software development in general. New features cause some of the old features to break. The most common scenario - old feature uses deprecated technique, one of those causing BSOD-s from time to time, or let's say - security risks. The most common are device drivers. They have lots of bugs, some of them - mission critical bugs. They are often very badly written. So Microsoft says "enough". What was yesterday deprecated - now is unsupported. And this is how things break.

      You know what? I'm super happy I got rid of old, unsupported hardware. It's useless junk for me, since I know it always caused problems, like slow startup and crashes.

      Then - system architecture was very painful to make good software for it within reasonable time. Since Windows 8 it was vastly improved. You don't need it as user, but as user you need new software. New architecture helps making new good software easier. For you as a user - it means cheaper and better new software.

      Remember as in XP times programs conflicted with each other? You install program A, then program B breaks. Or - you uninstall program B, program A breaks. It's no problem anymore, since new system design enforces better design patterns.

      In XP times almost every hardware driver update required a restart. Now it's very rare. I can't remember a single case of having to restart the system after connecting a device, installing or upgrading a driver. Before it became possible - the old driver model was first deprecated, then unsupported. Some things broke. Then - blame manufacturers. If device manufacturer pretends the device doesn't exist anymore - well, I just dump it.

      Did you know ancient HP printers are still supported in Windows 10? But not so ancient SoundBlaster sound cards are not. Asus is infamous for not supporting their products if they are merely 1 year old! It's not Microsoft's fault they update their system - it's manufacturers fault they don't update their drivers and other software.

      I hope there will be no next Windows. I wish 10 would be the final one. But I also hope, it will evolve without versions as we know them. I expect big and bold updates. I expect old stuff to break. It's necessary. This is how IT was born and how it works. Constant improvements. Now we have systems which don't crash twice a day. It's a consequence 16-bit code is no longer supported. DOS and alike are not supported. And so on.

      Upgrades - yes. Paying for new versions - no.

  4. Jay Jones
    September 19, 2015 at 3:52 am

    Windows 8.1 will be My final version of Windows To use , Linux will be on all future machines I purchase , or chrome or android . I do not enjoy reading the forced updates microsoft is going with .If they force us to update a video driver through them and not through the manufacture of that card the driver will crash constantly . Unwanted and unneeded software I never download/update , I will not be forced into windows 10 crap . never EVER !!

    • Justin Pot
      September 21, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      Enjoy Linux, do you have a particular distro in mind?

      • Dennis Primm
        November 10, 2015 at 3:30 am

        I agree with you Justin. There is a Linux distro out there that emulates Windows to a "T". It is Zorin OS. Check it out Jay. I think you'd like it.

  5. Ryan Cavitt (Kira)
    August 14, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Operating system upgrades for the iPhone have always been free.

    That is not true. Up until the iOS 4 upgrade you were charged $4.99 for an OS upgrade.

  6. Michael Weldon
    July 30, 2015 at 11:23 am

    For me, when XP reached end-of-life, I was ready for a major change. I'd had nearly 20 years of various M$ products, and wanted to explore the alternatives. Apple hardware was way out of my reach; but as I'm a born 'tinkerer', and constantly 'titivate' my systems to achieve the level of customization that I want, Linux was obviously the way to go.

    Started off with Ubuntu 'Trusty' last year. Was quite happy, until I discovered that Canonical's constant updates were slowly making my system more & more non-functional; mainly centered around the operation of the X-windowing system, and graphics in general. Canonical are doing a fantastic job with what they do, but unfortunately they're beginning to concentrate on the more modern hardware, I think in an attempt to seduce users of modern machinery away from M$'s dominance.

    I started to experiment with 'Puppy' Linux about 11 months ago, and, in April this year, I finally went all-Puppy, and am now running five Puppy distros on two different machines. The community support and encouragement are absolutely awesome.....and the Puppy developers have never forgotten their roots, and continue to make secure, usable versions that will operate quite happily, at decent speeds, on the oldest of hardware.

    It WILL be a long while yet before Linux is perceived as a viable alternative to Windows for the masses; but Linux has never been interested in becoming the 'dominant' global O/S that everybody uses. It's a good part of the way there already, without having to constantly extol its virtues in the media. Android IS a version of Linux/Unix; most of the world's supercomputers run on it, and the vast majority of machinery that uses any form of electronic control is already, usually, running some form of Linux-based embedded system.

    And you can alter, or change, absolutely EVERY part of any Linux system to make it do precisely what you want it to do.....

  7. John Schonewille
    June 19, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    I read "Windows 10 Is the Last Version of Windows. Ever." and got really excited until I read the article.

    • Justin Pot
      June 21, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      What were you expecting? Unconditional surrender to Linux?

  8. Victor Torresan
    June 10, 2015 at 2:15 am

    The problem as i see it is new computers dont work with existing hardware allready installed in homes and businesses such as security systems, automation equipment, access control, variable speed controllers, PLC's (programmable logic controllers), lighting control, HVAC (air conditioning) so you see you are not just asking poeple to upgrade their PC's you are asking People to replace all existing equipment allready being used all over the world to make everything you are using and wearing so who will pay for that?
    I have been looking for replacement to my 20 year old laptop running win 97 with com port so I can continue to repair and alter the programming on security systems and electrical devices as i come across them in the field.

    • Justin Pot
      June 10, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      Equipment that doesn't work with newer operating systems is a big problem, especially if the computers that run them are connected to the Internet. I don't know what the solution is.

  9. Just Me
    May 26, 2015 at 3:35 am

    doc: To boot straight to desktop in 8.1 follow this guide: http://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-boot-directly-to-the-desktop-in-windows-8-1/

  10. A41202813GMAIL
    May 25, 2015 at 3:15 am

    Still Alive And Kicking.

    XPOCALYPSE FOREVER !

    • Justin Pot
      May 25, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      Be careful out there man.

    • A41202813GMAIL ..
      May 27, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      No Problem. --- In 20+ Years, M$ Caused Me A Lot More Pain Than All The Malware Put Together. --- Besides, I Do Not Use Machines For Financial Transactions, Period. --- In The Last Few Days, My Old Machine Was Becoming Too Slow. --- I Moved XP To A Dual Core Machine And With This Pace I Can Do A Marathon. --- If Need Be, There Is Always Faster Hardware, And I Know What To Do To Move XP To More Recent ( Custom ) Motherboards. --- Thank You For Responding.

    • A41202813GMAIL ..
      May 27, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      No Problem. --- In 20+ Years, M$ Caused Me A Lot More Pain Than All The Malware Put Together. --- Besides, I Do Not Use Machines For Financial Transactions, Period. --- In The Last Few Days, My Old Machine Was Becoming Too Slow. --- I Moved XP To A Dual Core Machine And With This Pace I Can Do A Marathon. --- If Need Be, There Is Always Faster Hardware, And I Know What To Do To Move XP To More Recent ( Custom ) Motherboards. --- Thank You For Responding. ---

  11. JohnTheDur
    May 24, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Well actually there are a lot of PCs out there with low-end hardware - and those are still fully functional - but they are too slow/weak to run newer versions of the OS. That's the main problem. Hardware guys are doing a pretty good job, software guys are writing backward portable software back to Win95, and these two things combined make a pretty clear situation - users DON'T NEED to upgrade. Everything is working just fine with their cheap PC and old XP. Being a software developer myself, I'm not saying that software shouldn't be backward compatible, but I am trying to say that a more compelling reason is needed to upgrade (for regular/simple users) than "security updates" and "new features". These users don't even know what "security updates" mean. Hell, I don't even know which security updates are downloaded. So, can Microsoft somehow fix this problem? Can they make a good enough argument for everyone to go BUY new hardware which will support the new OS, but being sure that the new hardware WILL NOT get outdated quickly? I don't think so. People are switching to mobile and that seems to be the way to go..

    • Justin Pot
      May 25, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      This is the exact reason Microsoft needs to do away with the idea of an "old version", altogether.

    • Clifra Jones
      February 7, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      The old argument that the "software" has outgrown the "hardware" is no longer valid. I refurbish older laptops for user by kids and installing Linux was the choice of OS to do this. But now even modern Linux can have issues running on lower power computers.

      newer computers should last for sometime as processing power has vastly surpassed OS requirements. I run multiple virtual machines on my hardware now. it is not the OS that causes the computer to slow down it in malware infestation. Far to many folks buy new PC when all they needed was to have the computer cleaned out.

  12. Rich Cochran
    May 24, 2015 at 4:36 am

    OK, I just want them to include all old systems free of charge. I started with DOS 1.0 and Windows 2.0. Tried just about everything under the Sun. Made all of it work. Found that the user is the biggest problem out there. "Keep it simple Stupid" is a motto to live by. So get it done and lets move on.

  13. VfishV
    May 23, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    So much butthurt in these comments. :)

    I love change. I can't wait to see what happens with this product.

    V

    • Justin Pot
      May 25, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      People feel passionately about their computers, which makes sense: they use them almost every day. I don't understand how anyone can see free updates as anything but good, but I guess that just goes to show how people feel about Microsoft: they like their computers, but don't trust the company.

      • Cad Delworth
        November 30, 2015 at 3:34 pm

        Are you insane, man?

        'Free' updates are often the equivalent of free samples of heroin: designed solely to get you 'hooked' on The New Thing and keep you hooked. And by the time you realise (or someone else points out to you) what's happened, it's too late to back out of it.

        I wouldn't EVER use a system where the OS lives 'in the Cloud,' or might do so in future.

        I also wouldn't EVER use a system where updates are FORCED one me without me having any say in it.

        Free upgrade my ass: like iTunes, it's just another attempt to force you down a a particular route, and sorry MS, but I ain't playing. I'm sticking to XP and/or Win7, where I at least have SOME control over WTF is going on.

  14. Thomas Kainz
    May 23, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    It's "interesting" to say the least to see all of the comments here from everyone... especially those based upon hearsay and misinformation. Speculation aside, it WILL be interesting to see what path Microsoft does finally take. From my perspective, they do have to make some serious changes in their existing game plan. Personally if they do adopt a subscription based plan I wouldn't have any problems with it. I don't really mind paying for something as long as I feel that it is a good value. When MS recently offered their Office 2013/365 subscription option, I jumped at the opportunity. For me, with 5 PC's in the household to keep going, paying a monthly fee which amounts to not much more than a couple of Starbucks Frappes to have the latest full version of Office on all those PC's made sense. For Me!

    But...what does make sense for me may not make sense for others. That mentality extends itself to the various operating systems in general.

    For me... Apple is a good OS... but it's not the end-all and it's far from perfect. What I don't like about Apple is their expensive pay to play game mentality. Sure, the OS upgrades are free... but what's free? If a car dealership told me that a certain car had free lifetime service but I had to pay twice as much for that car up front... I wouldn't be impressed. And while Apple does put out a quality product, it's not worth what they charge for it. Ahh... the infamous 'Apple-Tax'. In my opinion, you're paying for the OS upgrades - just all up front as part of the hardware purchase..

    As far as those touting the virtues of the "free" Linux systems out there I would agree that they pose a viable alternative to Windows. That is.. in the not-to-distant future. BUT... IF, and only IF, the various disjointed groups can get on the same train to realize that they are soo close yet soo far and until Linux is de-geekified a little more and made to where the average user (not just us Geeks) can use it on a daily basis without ever having to enter into the realms of the command line, it will never really pose a real threat to MS. MS knows this and that thought may be - at least partially - behind their new game plan.

    What I think is also behind MS's strategy change is the realization that their dedicated consumers (including me) are about fed-up with being offered an inferior product with inferior support and at a premium price and that many of us are direly hungry for a "viable" alternative. Will that be Linux?

    So.. as for Windows 10.... I plan on giving it a go. I actually enjoy using Windows 8/8.1 and suspect, besides the anticipated issues which will be part of ANY OS upgrade, Windows 10 will be just as enjoyable... optimist that I am. I can say, that, for me, I've had fewer issues with 8/8/1 than I ever had with the previous versions - including the oft-touted wonderfully 'stable' XP.
    I

    • Justin Pot
      May 25, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      I really like your optimism, and the time you put into this comment. Thanks for stopping by, let me know if there are any kinds of articles you'd like to see more of.

  15. Diana
    May 23, 2015 at 5:09 am

    They failed to mention to log on you have to use biometrics and I refuse to do that.. with windows live either. I will go to linux first! I have been using windows many years but Biometrics is an invasion of privacy, among others they have abused over time.

  16. Aiden
    May 23, 2015 at 4:19 am

    I don't upgrade because I happen to like Windows 7 more than anything they have made since. I think windows 8 is okay once you get used to it and I think Windows 8.1 is utter crap because the update broke a lot of my hardware drivers, and a lot of my games and program quit working because of lack of compatibility with the OS.

    I downgraded back to Windows 7 and happen to like its use and features more.

  17. doc
    May 22, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    I'll believe it when I see it - but I am hopeful...
    XP was a really good system and I was loath to upgrade until my XP machine died (Though my DJ box still runs XP it's not connected to the network so I don't believe I'll have problems with malicious software).
    I purchased a new machine with Win7pro. OMG!!!! M$ FINALLY got it right. I love 7.
    I also have another new machine running 8.1 and I like it, as long as it is in "desktop" mode (windows 7). The biggest fault I find with 8.1 is you don't seem to be able to set it to boot to the desktop instead of that crap panel screen a la 8. It may be great for touch screens, but it sucks with a mouse.
    I just bought a new machine (cheap) running 7pro so that when the upgrade to 10 is available I'll be able to test it before committing my main machine (Lenovo T530).
    I don't want to get into the problems of 7 to 8.1 that doesn't copy over everything (apps etc. need to be reloaded so you really have to go from 7 to 8, then to 8.1 if you want it to be a "transparent" upgrade)
    It will be interesting to see how they monetize the new philosophy, but I'd have to agree with others that a subscription service will be putting a gun to their heads and pulling the trigger.
    I also have a machine that dual boots Ubuntu and WinXPpro and love Ubuntu.
    We'll see how things shake down, being an optimist, I'm hopeful...

  18. Bob Johnson
    May 22, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Ohhhhhhh,poor poor Microsoft,upset that we don't want to pay to upgrade something that we already paid too much for ....ohhhh......

    • Justin Pot
      May 22, 2015 at 9:37 pm

      The problem has more to do with having to maintain various versions of something longer after they sold it, with no continuing revenue to pay for that. Giving away updates is a good solution for that.

    • Chris
      November 28, 2015 at 3:31 am

      Haha your name is Bob Johnson...

  19. javakrypt
    May 22, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    I'm not sure I agree with it being a case of 'not wanting to pay' or upgrade. It's more of a case that the OS that comes on the computer is what is working for them. I know a lot of people through working in IT who think because their computer came with that OS, it has to stick to that OS. They can't wipe it or install something different.

    Most people, old, middle aged or young generally see just 2 versions of OS. Windows that comes on most computers and is expected (and not necessarily upgradable or changeable because of warranties or incompatibility of some sort) and Apple. Not even MacOS, just Apple. But most people realise they can upgrade their Mac to a different version and I think it comes down to features.

    MacOS is generally released in iterations (it also helps It's just called OS X something but still version 10, something general users don't think of - I know people who just call it X not 10) because MacOS upgrades incorporate new features that normal and power users can take advantage of (even if they are just filler and not that good...) And they're generally not small changes, such as Snow Leopard to Lion, having Mission Control, notifications, Launchpad. Then Mountain Lion included Notifications, Messages, Game Center etc. Big noticeable changes.

    Windows is quite stagnant, what you get when you first install is what you get. I think this is a good move for Microsoft but I'm not sure how they'll monetize it or expect users to pay something (unless it's bundled with Office 365/OneDrive subscription, which might work and be less hassle for end users). They best not have adverts inside system apps again like they did with Windows 8 when it first came out. That's a massive joke.

    • Justin Pot
      May 22, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      I don't think they can monetize updates, but they do stand to cut costs considerably and make life better for developers if as many people as possible are using the same system.

  20. Luide
    May 22, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    This is great to hear. The more I read through it, the more it makes sense. OS upgrades nowadays are always expected to be free on mobiles, so why not desktop?

  21. Bruce Barnes
    May 22, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    If Microsoft is sick of us not upgrading then they need to take a long look at their track record. They have produced several poor operating systems along the way. (remember Windows 98.1, ME, Vista, and 8. It's the attitude of a monopoly to expect people to upgrade to a poor operating system. Sure, 98.2, XP, and 7 were good but it has been a crap-shoot, deciding whether or not to upgrade to their next version. They always tell you that the new release is the best yet. Well, "once bitten twice shy". I for one am sticking with Windows 7 until something better comes along, if something better comes along. Meanwhile, I use Ubuntu for everything I can. It's clearly better than Windows.

    • Justin Pot
      May 22, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Yeah, a lot of people feel the same way you do, but the vast majority of computer users just don't think about which OS they use. They stick with what their computer comes with.

      Seriously, though: you won't take MS up on the free upgrade to 10? You're not even curious?

    • Bruce Barnes
      May 22, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      From what I could learn the so-called "free upgrade to Windows 10" only applies to retail copies of Windows and not to my OEM install of Windows 7. Am I wrong about this?

    • Mark
      May 22, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      From what I understand, it applies to EVERY copy on windows 7 and 8. Even pirated copies in an attempt to get the mass of Chinese OS pirates on a legit system.

    • Justin Pot
      May 23, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      There's been mixed messages about the pirated copies: it seems like they'll offer a free-ish upgrade that will later ask for money, but we're not totally sure.

  22. maven2k
    May 22, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    The ONLY reason I have a box with Windows 7 on it, is for the Media Center DVR. I use Ubuntu for my every day computing and if I were smart enough to get get a functioning media center-like experience from it, I would in a heartbeat.

    • Justin Pot
      May 22, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      Ubuntu is pretty fantastic, and if you want DVR software there are a lot of options. Maybe I should write a guide someday.

    • maven2k
      May 22, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      I agree with both of your statements! I've fiddled around with MythTV, Mythbuntu, and XBMC to no avail. I'm going to chalk it up to inexperience, but also, I haven't found a good guide in plain English for noobs like myself.

    • dragonmouth
      May 23, 2015 at 12:27 am

      @Justin:
      You say that Win 7 is so much better than XP but then you recommend Ubuntu for a Media Center. OpenELEC distro is the Win 7 to Ubuntu's Win XP. OpenELEC is designed specifically to run home media centers.

    • Justin Pot
      May 23, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      7 is clearly superior to XP, in what was does believing that preclude me from thinking Ubuntu is great for media centers? OpenELEC is also quite great from what I understand, but I don't have as much experience with it.

  23. F-J Harmych
    May 21, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    It has nothing to do with paying for upgrades. It has EVERYTHING to do with the fact that XP is the best OS Windows has had, and THAT is why people don't upgrade at home. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And Microsoft just kept fixing it.

    • Justin Pot
      May 22, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      I'm sorry but Windows 7 is superior in every way to XP.

    • AriesWarlock
      May 22, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      What? Windows 7 is so much better than Windows XP it's not even funny.

    • Common Sense
      May 24, 2015 at 7:07 am

      Windows 7 is slower than XP, and much slower than XP 64 bit. That's inferiority, not superiority.

  24. dragonmouth
    May 21, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Let's not kid ourselves. M$ is doing this for one reason only, to guarantee themselves a stable, steady revenue stream. User will have to update when Microsoft says to update, not when users feel like it. Users who miss a payment will be left with a useless system.

    Unfortunately for Microsoft this is not the late 1980s, early 1990s when they had a virtual monopoly. Today there are viable alternatives to Windows and other Microsoft products. Not only will MS not regain market share but it is possible that it will PO a substantial number of users who will switch to the alternatives.

    • Dude, what?
      May 22, 2015 at 12:07 pm

      "to guarantee themselves a stable, steady revenue stream"

      Which is exactly what they're supposed to be doing? Microsoft is a business, not a charity. As someone who reads MUO I'm certain you're well aware of the various awesome and *free* distros of linux.

    • Justin Pot
      May 22, 2015 at 2:07 pm

      Microsoft officials have said multiple times that there won't be an ongoing subscription fee, Dragonmouth.

    • dragonmouth
      May 22, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      You're right. I did not express myself clearly.

      I am not against a company making a profit, even an obscene one. After all, Apple and Exxon have been raking the money in for years. What I am against is monopoly and lock-in. With subscription software, Microsoft is trying to recapture the late 1980s when they were virtually the only game in town. To use the hackneyed car analogy, Microsoft is trying to rent you a car in which EVERYTHING (tires, fluids, car wax, battery, gasoline, replacement parts) is proprietary and can only be obtained from them. This car will roll into a Microsoft dealership for maintenance whenever M$ feels like whether the user wants the maintenance or not. If the maint is not performed, the car will cease to function in a very short period of time. Would you ever consider getting that car under those conditions?

      • Cad Delworth
        November 30, 2015 at 3:44 pm

        Agreed.

        And this is also PRECISELY what Apple have been doing since, oh … the Apple II. Lock you in, strap you down, tell you that you WILL enjoy this experience even if they have to jam your eyelids open and torture you into saying 'yes yes I agree! this OS is brilliant!'

        The truth about Apple is that their OSs have always been ripped off from other people, then dumbed down so that you can't cut yourself on any sharp corners. Don't like the way it works? Then you'll be shouted down by the Apple fanbois, or told sweetly that this is 'better' than the alternatives. Whilst still being strapped down with your eyelids jammed open and screaming 'PLEASE STOP!' at the top of your broken voice.

    • dragonmouth
      May 22, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Please excuse me, Justin, if I am a bit sceptical about there not being an onging fee. I'll believe it when I see it.

    • Luide
      May 22, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      Dragonmouth, I'm sure, as they've said, selling the software to manufacturers will be more than enough for them to make decent revenue. Plus, it should be a way of urging Microsoft to diversify their product offering. Just look at Google now.

    • Mark
      May 22, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      There is no way they will charge a subscription fee. Despite your Microsoft hate, they are still intelligent business people and they know charging a subscription fee for their operating system is equivelant to business suicide. They are in the business to make money, and a consumer subscription fee is NOT a lasting source of money in this environment.

    • dragonmouth
      May 23, 2015 at 12:02 am

      Mark,
      FYI, as far back as the late 1990s, Bill Gates was talking about switching Microsoft to all subscription software. Of course, in those days when MS had a virtual O/S monopoly it would have made more sense than now when users have viable alternatives.

      BTW - I may dislike the way MS has conducted business in the past as well as their corporate policies. I may not see Windows as the greatest thing since sliced bread. I may see Windows as a basically flawed and insecure O/S but I do not "hate". Both Microsoft and Windows are not important enough in the grand scheme of things to warrant my "hate."

  25. Craig
    May 21, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Does this mean no more 'service packs'? How will this work with dll versioning?

    The idea is good in principle, but there are a hell of a lot of software products out there that are dependent on peculiarities of one single version of windows. Products like that could no longer exist in this ecosystem. Android works as applications run in a sandbox provided by the OS. This provides a level of consistency.

    • Justin Pot
      May 21, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      I'm not entirely sure, but I believe some level of sandboxing is on the way. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft pulls this all off regardless.

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