By Jonathan Keane
While we await the official release date for Windows 10, rumoured to be sometime in July, Microsoft has slowly been revealing its new features and upgrade options. Most recently it unveiled its various editions of the OS including Home, Pro, Enterprise, Mobile, Education, and Mobile Enterprise.
However, grey areas still surround Windows 10, such as the free upgrade for older Windows users. Initially, Microsoft appeared to be allowing pirated copies of Windows to upgrade to 10 for free in an effort to get as many users on board with the latest OS as possible.
Last week the company clarified its stance on pirates. Those with illegal copies of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 will be able to upgrade through an “attractive” plan so pirates aren’t getting off the hook, and just what those prices will look like remains to be seen.
Getting more people onto Windows 10 is key for Microsoft, especially if it wants to leave the polarising Windows 8 off in the distance for good. Offering a free upgrade to users is a smart move and the features (such as a completely new browser) that we’ve seen so far suggests it will be leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor.
Meanwhile releasing several editions of the operating system allows Microsoft to charge more for the business-focused versions too. Regular users on the other hand will have a choice of versions like Windows 10 Home, which is the most basic, or Windows 10 Pro, which is ideal for users that use their own devices for work. Similarly on the mobile front, Microsoft is offering a regular mobile version along with an Enterprise edition.
In the face of dwindling PC sales, Microsoft failed to really jump on the mobile bandwagon, which is evident from Windows Phone’s market place next to iOS and Android. Windows 10 is more of a universal platform for desktop and mobile devices with apps, another smart move for Microsoft, rather than just releasing another desktop operating system and a separate one for mobile.
The company is also aiming for a billion users on Windows 10 within just a couple of years. Currently there are around 1.7 billion Windows users globally, so encouraging upgrades is vital, and Microsoft will need to contend with reductions in laptop and PC prices running Windows 8.1 over the next few months.
People upgrading will need to bear a couple of points in mind when making the switch too. For example, if you’re running a 32-bit version of Windows 8, your upgrade will be a 32-bit Windows 10, which may leave you without some of the features you had in mind.
Windows 10 has been described as the “last” Windows, meaning the one OS and brand name will remain with significant updates regularly that will eventually lead all users to working on the same operating system. This is possibly Microsoft’s biggest move in getting all Windows user onto the one platform.