Paul Thurrott does an outstanding job laying out the case of why the Windows 10 Upgrade should always be free.
I think that Microsoft will do the right thing. And today, I’d like to make the case that this is the only correct outcome. It is in fact, “the only outcome.”
That Microsoft gets that the world has moved on is obvious: They’ve evolved Windows into an always-updated modern monstrosity, and Windows 10 is now updated as if it were a simpler mobile OS or a cloud service. Yes, there are some fits and stops along the way, but this first year is all about making that transition.
Given this, it doesn’t make sense to return the Windows 10 upgrade to the paid model from the past. That is, once you’ve paid for Windows—by getting it with a new PC, usually—you’re entitled to free upgrades for the life of that device, just as you are (basically) on Android and iOS. The passage of 12 months of time doesn’t change that at all: If a customer still using (the still supported) Windows 7 in August 2016, or January 2017, or whatever, wants to upgrade to Windows 10, it is still in Microsoft’s best interests that that happen. And it should be as frictionless as possible. It should be free.
I agree. It’s the most logical decision. We’re moving to a subscription based, always on and in the cloud economy. Apple has already somewhat embraced this — it’s the model we’re all using for our smartphones already.