Windows 10 marks a significant change in Microsoft's business strategy. The fact that it is offering Windows 7 and Windows 8 users a free upgrade (for a limited time) already demonstrates a major contrast to past versions. However, Microsoft might be doing this to coax users to upgrade, only to gain more revenue down the line!
The company is pushing the idea of Windows "as a service". It doesn't want Windows XP to happen again, where millions used the operating system for more a decade. In the meantime, Windows XP fell behind the company's latest OS, first Vista, then 7, then 8. Finally, Microsoft stopped supporting it due to the innumerable XP-specific security issues that multiplied over time. Additionally, those outdated users grew unable to use the latest software. Then again, there was no way for Microsoft to force users to update because:
Windows 10, on the other hand:
Microsoft's main reason for keeping all its users on the latest software is so any user can use all the latest apps -- especially ones downloaded from the Windows Store. Microsoft gets a percentage of the revenue when one purchases an app from the Windows Store. Thus, by making the update free, Microsoft plans to profit off of Windows 10 updaters down the line through the Windows Store.
Microsoft is not only attempting to update all Windows users to Windows 10. Once one updates to Windows 10, they will virtually always be running the latest version of Windows. As part of the updated Windows 10 license agreement, one must install every software update to Windows. In the past, there was an option to disable updates, though few utilized it because updates can fix security issues. Now there's no longer a way to prevent Microsoft from restarting your computer "when you're not using it" to install its latest modifications on your computer. Again, updates aren't entirely bad, in fact, they typically benefit the user. On the other hand though, it's rather scary that Microsoft could decide to modify or take away certain features at its disposal. Because of this new concept of forced updates, there likely won't be another Windows (such as Windows 11) anytime soon. In fact, many are touting Windows 10 as "the last version of Windows". While this phrase holds some truth to it, it's also probably an exaggeration -- as computer hardware continues to evolve, we'll eventually need another operating system. Additionally, it's important to remember "Windows as a service", where the OS is now constantly evolving courtesy of forced updates.
Apart from the Windows Store, there are two other instances of Microsoft's plot to profit off of those that take advantage of the "free" upgrade offer.
On the bright side, these instances of Microsoft's monetization are currently very minor and may only affect a small portion of Windows users. Having said that, the company could theoretically send out a forced update at any time that contains more shenanigans! Imagine logging on to your computer one day and seeing ads begin to pop up while using email, in addition to a new option to disable email ads for a yearly fee...
Welcome! I'm BradzTech, a Computer Science student at Rochester Institute of Technology. I am passionate about computers and analyzing the latest happenings in the rapidly developing modern field of technology, specifically, using it to help people. I share my thoughts on Twitter and, occasionally, here on my blog. Learn more about me.