Windows 10 is expected to be released on late August – for PCs only, not smartphones and Xbox One (not yet at least). So with the new upgrade on the way, lately there has been a lot of fuss on Microsoft’s policy to release Windows 10 free of charge for a year (for those who are using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 at least). This matter has raised the interest of many, because it can be further analysed in both strategic and financial dimensions with the one not necessarily being part of the other.
It is easy to understand that Microsoft plans on releasing Windows 10 free upgrades to millions of users all around the world in order to attract more customers in a small amount of time. That doesn’t cost as much as you might expect because simply, existing computers rarely get upgrades to the next Windows edition. Most users just buy a new PC along with the new edition. So clearly, the company will make some money (less than the previous editions) from all those new PCs that will have Windows 10 preinstalled.
In addition to that, let’s not forget that Windows 10 may be offered as a free upgrade for users that have Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, but that will be only for the first 12 months. After that, it is more likely to be a price we will have to pay to get the upgrade or make it permanent. What remains unclear is what exactly we will pay for and how much (we do expect though that the price will be less than what Windows 8 cost currently).
However, even with that source of income, Microsoft will not make any serious money. So many wonder, from where will the American colossal company draw the profits that would excuse the long term investment?
The answer is not difficult. Or at least in theory it’s not. According to that theory the more people use Windows 10, the more bigger Microsoft’s target group will get. And that will allow the company to expand the market of their other products and services that are connected somehow with the new Windows edition. From the Bing search engine, to the Office 365 and from the apps of Microsoft and its partners to the ads that the company can put to many spots of their operating system, things that can be promoted from an environment where one faces a variety of screens are too many to count. Or at least that’s what the theory says. Now whether the whole plan will work out or not, remains to be seen.
What should make us more worried is not the answer itself but the impact that the company’s failure would have on the global market and the whole technology industry, especially since Microsoft is one of the most important companies on both.