free Windows 10 – the pros and cons

By | 10.12.2018

Windows 10 free – for and against

The fact that every user of Windows 7 and 8 will have the opportunity to obtain absolutely free new version operating system no longer news. About that Microsoft announced back in January as part of a special press conference, which had the purpose to acquaint the world with the new Windows 10. Recently, however, the company announced that it can benefit not only the owners of legal copies, and even those who use unlicensed versions of Windows 7 and 8.

This announcement was surprising, to put it mildly, especially given the longstanding and focused efforts of Microsoft to limit the spread of pirated copies of their software products and is mostly Windows. What caused this sudden change in the commercial policy of the company?

Windows free

Although he seems to be unprecedented, it is not Microsoft’s first step in this direction. Last year in an attempt to expand its presence in the mobile market, the company announced that it will offer Windows 8.1 for portable devices with screens up to 8 inches without licensing fees to their manufacturers – that is, on practice free.

Definitely, this approach is not new to the software market – Apple, for example, offers free updates to its OS X since 2013. Upgrades to new versions of all mobile operating systems are also available for free.

Google, one of the strongest competitors of Microsoft in the last few years, in terms of offered services and distributes Android, absolutely free. In addition, the company allows relatively free to change their operating system, whereas Windows has always been and probably always will be the product closed-source.

Of course, Google is a key part of the global marketing strategy of the company since appearing on the market. The search giant was able to offer the main product as Android is free, because it generates huge revenues from related services, applications, and advertising, successfully transforming the popularity of the operating system in a stable cash flow.

It’s possible that Microsoft wants to try this practice – evidence in support of this thesis is the subscription model for products like Office 365, Skype and OneDrive associated with monthly payments for use. The company clearly sees success in this area – something that cannot be said about incomes derived from the sale of licenses for Windows and Office in the traditional market scheme, which last year was 7% less than in the previous reporting period.

Possible motive to offer a free upgrade to Windows 10 may be still relatively weak presence in the Chinese domestic market. It’s not a secret that the piracy level there is extremely high, and the Chinese government are not prepared to take targeted measures to limit it. Moreover, the Chinese authorities even banned the use of Windows 8 in state institutions – a decision that is partly due to the high costs of upgrading to the latest version of the operating system.

At the same time, the presence of a huge number of pirated copies of Windows on the market creates undeniable risks to the safety of millions of computers around the world. Despite the cessation of official support for Windows XP, for example, many systems still use this version, making them extremely vulnerable to hacker attacks. Separately, the conditions for a more easy and mass distribution of malicious software.

Opportunity for full free «legalization» of illegal copies of Windows (although only for one year) largely can solve these problems quick and relatively painless for users way.

The reverse of the medal

However, this move by Microsoft is reason for some skepticism. The reasons for this are several, but the most serious of them is related to concerns regarding the security of personal data of future users of Windows 10.

It is known that an early, preliminary version of the new operating system collect significant amounts of information about consumer habits of people who use them. It’s not just about traditional methods, such as tracking search history on the Internet and the most visited sites, and even frightening ways, as the voice commands and information, as well as tracking the sequence of pressing keys on the keyboard. While Windows 10 transmits this information to Microsoft, without warning the user.

At the moment, the company has not commented whether it will continue in the final version of the operating system, but it is not excluded that Windows 10 will finally include a warning of the presence of such practices with detailed information of users.

On the one hand it is definitely a cause for concern. On the other hand, such practices are widely used in almost all «free» products and services that many of us use every day – including social networks, search engines, mobile operating systems and applications in them. So it is very likely that with the next version of Windows, Microsoft intends to join undoubtedly a very profitable business connected with and selling data about its users ‘ behavior.

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