Many are wondering why Windows 10 is being delivered free to existing Windows 7 and Windows 8 users. The hint can be seen in Windows 8, its called the Windows Store. Microsoft has indicated Windows 10 is a major undertaking as they add many new features to the platform.
Windows 10 runs on just 47% of all Windows PCs worldwide, according to StatCounter. Windows 7 ranks second at 39%, followed by Windows 8.1 at 8% and Windows XP at 3%.
Turning Windows 10 into a paid subscription service for mainstream consumers would undermine Microsoft’s long-term goals. Microsoft is using Windows 10 as a foundation on which to build new pillars of sales growth, which will reduce its dependence on license upgrades.
Microsoft sells Office 365 to small business now and this is an example of the changes consumers have already seen.
For consumers, the Windows Store is a new platform for developers to sell content. Microsoft wanted to compete with Apple and Google etc who have their respective mobile ecosystems. The Windows Store is a natural evolution. Microsoft can now earn a piece of the action with Windows.
iTunes and Steam have long been part of the Windows ecosystem for a long time. Many others also operate their own respective stores. Microsoft simply was slow to better monetize Windows.
Windows 10 for consumers will be a free operating system for existing licenses. For new machines, Microsoft will get OEM license fees in addition to earning over the life of the machine. For DIY types a license will still be needed for a new rig.
Corporate users will still be spending more for Windows mostly as the semiannual updates are inconvenient for many businesses which need more stability.
So anyone who buys a new laptop with Windows 10 will not need to worry, Windows 10 will get the semi annual upgrades at no additional cost.