Microsoft is starting to roll out its new Windows 10 operating system. It’s available for free to a large proportion of Windows users. You think that’s a poor business model? – Far from it, insists DW’s Hardy Graupner.
Windows 10 comes with quite a lot of new features and improvements over everything we’ve seen before. Among other things, there’s now a digital voice assistant called Cortana, which will be a great help for users to find files and content and keep on top of things to do.
And there’s Edge, Microsoft’s completely overhauled browser, which comes as a replacement of the not-so-much-loved Internet Explorer. Edge also allows you to leave notes on websites that can then be made visible for other users, and you can use the new browser to compile your personal read-later lists.
There are many more things that users of the new operating system may quite like. Which is to say that it’s justifiable for Microsoft to have symbolically omitted Windows 9 and move on to version 10 so as to signal this is an upgrade really worth going for in leaving the hated Windows 8 times behind once and for all.
To make sure a proper job is done, Microsoft for months ran an insider program that attracted around 250,000 users in Germany alone willing to test the beta releases and help the company get a feel of what all the users out there really wanted. This is now bound to pay off.
Not keen on the money?
Speaking about paying off in the literal sense of the word, many might have been surprised to find out that the Redmond, Washington-based firm decided to give away Windows 10 for free to all owners of a legal license for Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1.
Now, you may think that’s a foolish business idea displaying Microsoft’s utter neglect of cashing in on a promising new product, but a closer look at the firm’s long-term strategy reveals it’s a clever move that may save it from falling into oblivion in 10 years’ time.
And that strategy above all entails getting Windows 10 onto the largest possible number of desktop PCs, laptops and devices. The company has frequently stated it wants over 1 billion devices to run its new operating system within the next two or three years.
In addition, the company offers software developer kits (SDKs), which enable programmers to port over Android and iOS apps. This makes perfect sense as developers are keen on writing apps for the platforms where the most customers can be found. It goes without saying, though, that Macs and iPhones will continue to be attractive to whoever used them before.
Keeping old clients locked in
But Windows 10 may be key for Microsoft particularly for keeping its enterprise customers in the fold. Almost 80 percent of the world’s desktop PCs are still running older versions of Windows, but a free upgrade looks set to change this.
After all, recent polls have shown that 40 percent of clients are planning to upgrade to Windows 10 in the next 12 months, and 23 percent will do just that within the next two years.
While customers will be facing few problems running their old software and apps on Windows 10, they will enjoy higher security standards and enterprise clients won’t have to spend sleepless nights worrying about retraining their staff as the new interface remains easily recognizable to Windows users despite all the new features.
Freemium all the rage
Once you’ve got that customer base of scale, big business can then be created by having clients pay for enhanced versions of free software in line with the freemium (free becomes premium) business model – or getting clients to take advantage of increased services in the cloud.
Microsoft’s new man at the helm, Satya Nadella, hasn’t shied away from making bold moves. Windows 10 has the potential of ushering in a new, successful era for the company.
And don’t be disappointed to find out that there won’t ever be a Windows 11. The operating system will be updated constantly anyway, and the move is just designed to be managed more like Android and iOS have been.