Microsoft has stood by its promise. Last week the company confirmed it will soon start charging for Windows 10 bringing its free upgrade offer to a close and it won't be cheap. For those baffled by this decision, here are the three biggest reasons why...
- The Free Upgrades Have Done Their Job
Microsoft was desperate to avoid another Windows 8 scenario where its new operating system simply failed to catch on. In fact even calling it ‘Windows 10’ was an attempt to distance the platform from its much (if unfairly) maligned predecessor.
Making Windows 10 upgrades free for a year has done exactly that. Microsoft now claims 300M Windows 10 activations have taken place in just 10 months. That’s the fastest adoption of any Windows operating system in history - even slightly ahead of monster hit Windows 7.
But adoption is slowing.
Following the expected rush on launch, Windows 10 growth continued to be pretty stellar for most of 2015 and then had a huge (expected) boost across the Christmas/New Year period. However since then growth rates have dropped off and in April Windows 10’s market share increased just 0.2% from 14.15 to 14.35%.
As such it is becoming clear those who want Windows 10 now have it and those who have yet to be persuaded are unlikely to be persuaded now. So rather than headlines in six months about how Microsoft “can’t give Windows 10 away”, the company is smarter to pull the offer now while history will be kind.
- The PC Industry Needs Free Upgrades To Stop
Giving away Windows 10 may have been popular with users as Microsoft claimed it will give new life to ageing PCs, but this was not the message PC makers wanted to hear. The PC industry has been hit hard enough already without the leading operating system maker pushing the message that users won’t need to buy a new computer if they install Microsoft’s free software.Of course making Windows 10 free was far from the root cause of the PC sector’s troubles (it has been slowing for years) but it certainly didn’t aid it in an era when manufacturers need all the help they can get.
- Bringing Businesses Back Onside
And it isn’t just PC makers that disliked the Windows 10 giveaway, businesses have also been casting an envious eye.
Why? Because Windows 10 Enterprise was excluded from Microsoft’s free upgrade offer. So while millions of consumers and small businesses were enjoying Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro upgrades for nothing, corporations have been forking out billions.
With adoption rates of the Windows 10 free upgrade now negligible it is about time Microsoft stopped making its biggest customers feel like second class citizens.
The Big Caveat
And yet I do hold out some hope that Microsoft will pull out a last minute extension to the Windows 10 free offer.
I suspect this won’t happen until the deadline has passed (the company would miss out on the rush of last minute upgrades) but Microsoft also has an ambitious 1 billion Windows 10 users target to hit between 2017 and 2018 and I can’t see that happening without more free upgrades.
Even without a last minute extension, however, there is still one major positive: Microsoft has promised to stop nagging Windows 7 and Windows 8 users to upgrade once the free Windows 10 offer ends.
And that for some that will be the best news of all…