There are still a lot of unanswered questions in regards to Microsoft providing Windows as a service. Similar to the way Microsoft has started selling its Office suite on a subscription-based payment model, the same could be done with the company’s Windows operating system. However, according to analysts, that won’t happen in the near future, at least not with Windows 10.
Gregg Moskowitz, an analyst for research firm Cowen, suggests that while it may be easy to sign up for an annual subscription of Office, which can then be used on multiple devices (PC or mobile), it may be tougher to do so with software as complex and as vital as an operating system. Moskowitz also argues that a subscription model for Windows will be a tougher sell to businesses as the accumulated costs may turn out to be higher than a single purchase over an extended period of time. Considering how many of the larger corporations find it cumbersome and costly to upgrade this isn’t surprising, and it may even push individuals and businesses to competing operating systems.
Cowen also anticipates Microsoft providing Windows 10 for free to Windows 8 and 8.1 customers. Following the way Windows 8 was panned by critics for the jarring transition between the traditional desktop and Modern UI, solved somewhat by Windows 8.1, it would appear that Microsoft is looking to appease for that by providing free upgrades to those customers.
As for the happy Windows 7 customers that still make up more than half the Windows user base, as well as those of older Windows operating systems, will likely have to pay to upgrade to Windows 10. And considering those market share numbers and the fact that Microsoft is still looking to make a profit with its OS, Windows 7 users shouldn’t expect significant discounts on the upgrade, if they will be offered any at all.