As mentioned in the prior article, there is something about the Windows 10 Free Upgrade that Microsoft is not being very clear about which could have a very negative effect on the PC Market. Microsoft has claimed over and over ‘Windows 10 owners can expect to get free updates for the “supported lifetime of the device”.’ Okay, so as long as the device is working I can get free updates, right? Not exactly, the key term in Microsoft’s statement is supported lifetime of the device. Some sources indicate that this device lifetime is going to be 2 or 4 years depending on the customer type (Windows Home or Windows Pro), regardless of the form factor (PC, phone or tablet).
Another big unknown is what happens after the 2 or 4-year prior has expired. May be users will need to “upgrade” to the next version (Windows 10.1?) and get another 2 to 4 years support (provided the user hasn’t violated Microsoft’s newer stricter update policy). Another and more likely scenario will be a paid subscription to continue to get updates. After all, Microsoft still needs to make money and they aren’t going to make up the money lost in the free upgrades with Office 365 or SQL Server licenses. Microsoft claims the money they lose on the free upgrades will be recovered within 3-years of the Windows 10 release. That sure hints of a paid updates subscription service.
So, why would this have a very negative effect on the PC Market? Consider this,a Windows 7 user decides to take advantage of the “Free” upgrade to Windows 10 in August 2015. They upgrade to the home version they will get free updates until August 2017. But wait, Microsoft has committed to continuing to provide free updates for Windows 7 until January 2020. If you think that’s bad, consider a Windows 8 user taking the free upgrade in August 2015 and they are Pro use, their free updates on Windows 10 would be until August 2019. However, Windows 8.1 updates will be offered through January 2023. Another scenario, a Windows 8 user decides they really want Windows 10 and missed the free upgrade. They purchase a new Windows 10 PC (even though their Windows 8 machine is still working fine) in August 2016. If it is Windows 10 Pro then free updates would be through August 2020 which still falls short by over two years versus Windows 8.
Users are not going to be ditching their perfectly good Windows 7 and 8.1 machines just for Windows 10 (even if it is free*) when they are going to get short changed on the free updates with Window 10. Also, what is not to say that Microsoft won’t extend the end of life for Windows 7 or Windows 8 as they did with Windows XP.
* Free updates for the life of your device (but we wont’ tell you how long ‘the life’ is or what happens after this time has passed)…but it’s FREE!