Windows upgrade has been one of the major cash cows for Microsoft for several decades. As long as users were dependent on the mouse – keyboard – desktop processor engines, Microsoft was king.. ( Apple had its own small market as well).. The truly greatest achievement of Windows over these years must invariably be that millions preferred to opt for a pirated Windows rather than go for a legal free Linux OS..
The emergence of Laptops helped Windows achieve some consolidation over its OS.. Windows Pre loaded in Laptops was a very success business model and the cost of the OS was typically embedded on the over all cost of the hardware device. Yet for a newer version of Windows upgrade users were expected to pay for a new
OS.. Typically this was not much of a major problem. By the time, an OS upgrade was mandatory after Microsoft stopped support, the hardware was anyways obsolete.
But with the evolution of mobile ecosystems, Microsoft has seriously lost ground. No matter how hard it has tried, at best it can only reach 3rd place. Ios and Android are clearly way ahead.
Although the death of the Laptop is not going to happen immediately, it is going to, with current emerging trends. The only way for Microsoft to possibly bet and keep Windows afloat in the long run is to create a seamless Windows ecosystem much the same way that Apple does.
And for a seamless experience to happen, it has to upgrade it’s Windows Desktop experience to closely match Windows Mobile. With most hardware builders preferring Android and App developers preferring IOS and Android for obvious reasons of numbers, the road for Windows Phone and the ecosystem is questionable.
Microsoft for its legacy runs a possibility of falling into irrelevance, which is possibly why it is throwing it’s cash reserves into building high priced tablets like Surface, which are supposed to offer a seamless experience. Thankfully, Microsoft has also abandoned it’s approach of getting users to Windows if they want Microsoft products like MS Office, a move which has clearly backfired.. Now, with the race being lost to IOS and Android, Microsoft is building Apps for other hardware ecosystems as well.
With such a hard road ahead, Microsoft has little choice but to give Windows 10 for free. Windows 7 and 8 users have quite some time left before they need an upgrade, but by that time, Windows in its traditional form may itself be irrelevant. In any case, millions of copies will be pirated as in XP, Windows 7 and 8. The desktop market also isn’t doing too well for Windows to make money. So either way, it might make some marketing sense to get as many users on board as possible, maybe.
So, with Windows 10 becoming free, is this move a Revenue Enhancer? No. Microsoft doesn’t seem to be earning anything here.
A piracy beater? Microsoft is earning quite a large number of users who may have pirated Windows 10, but it isn’t looking to make money out of this either.
It just wants to consolidate it’s user base and channelise it’s revenue by pushing it’s other revenue potential like Bing, promoting One Drive and maybe get a small conversation rate of users to try a Windows phone.
This movie by Microsoft, in summary gains not much revenue potential, but Microsoft has just banked on of its legacy cash cows to simply stay relevant in the long term and not fall into oblivion like Yahoo.