Microsoft seems to be betting a lot on their upcoming revision to their long-standing PC operating system family, Windows 10. In addition to adding unprecedented functionality across devices and allowing existing Windows users to upgrade to it for free within the first year of release, some surprising new information has surfaced about the upcoming OS that will likely cause many to either celebrate, or scratch their heads.
According to TIME, Microsoft revealed these new details at a developers’ summit which took place in Shenzhen, China this past Tuesday. At the summit, executives gave a release window that many analysts and observers likely weren’t expecting: this coming summer. Microsoft executive vice president Terry Myerson announced the release timeframe by saying,
We continue to make great development progress and shared today that Windows 10 will be available this summer in 190 countries and 111 languages.
Perhaps even more shockingly, though, in addition to reiterating the “free upgrade program” (which we’ve discussed previously), Myerson apparently stated that the upgrade would be freely available to even “non-genuine” users of previous Windows operating systems, meaning that those running pirated versions of the OS would be able to obtain a new, genuine copy of the latest iteration of the software. This is definitely an interesting decision, which TIME describes as being framed by, “the decision as an attempt to “re-engage” users in China, where lax copyright protections have created a massive market for unlicensed versions of the software.”
The venue for the event makes this last point a particularly potent one, considering that a recent global survey conducted by the Business Software Alliance estimated that nearly 75% of PC software in China is unlicensed, meaning that it was obtained illegally. Other large nations like India, Russia, Brazil, Thailand, and Indonesia all have unlicensed rates higher than 50%, with some being well above 80%.
While not even a partial list of intended release countries for the summer was revealed, it should prove interesting to see just how many people take Microsoft up on this offer, especially if the offer for existing unlicensed Windows users extends to markets in North America and other nations besides China. By adding new functionality, including the ability to directly stream Xbox One content from the console to a Windows 10 PC, it should be quite an interesting turn of events to see how big Microsoft can make the install base for their latest operating system.
For more on Windows 10 as news develops, keep an eye on GeekNation.
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