One of the key moments of the Microsoft conference tonight will probably be the announcement of the price of the new Windows system, especially for Windows 10 users who will update to Windows 11. And with 1.3 billion devices running Windows 10 currently, there are many.
The operating system market has evolved a lot since the first Windows and today no one considers paying when switching from an Android or iOS system to a new version. Can it still be different for Windows PCs?
From Windows 95 to Windows 10
First and foremost, let’s get on the DeLorean with Doc and Marty for a little throwback to the 90s when computers started to arrive in homes and businesses. Windows 95 then Windows 98 were sold in a box, but Microsoft was already starting to encourage users to update to a more recent system as soon as Windows Me arrived by offering a reduced price for a few months.
More recently, when switching from Windows XP to Vista, Microsoft offered two types of pricing. An “Update” version was thus sold cheaper than a full version. With Windows 7 Microsoft is mixing two types of offers to encourage users to update. First of all, a promotion for one month allows you to buy a full version at 49 euros for the family version. After this time it will cost 109 euros for an updated version, or 199 for a full version.
This becomes more complex with the arrival of Windows 8 but the prices drop drastically. Windows 7 users are offered the option to upgrade to Windows 8 for just $ 14.99. The others, depending on age and installation methods (download or DVD) must pay 30 to 60 euros.
In 2015, Windows 10 arrives. This time we are no longer talking about price but about a free update from Windows 7 or 8. Microsoft initially limits this possibility to the first year following its release. Even if this niche is officially largely outdated, it is still possible today to switch to Windows 10 from Windows 7 for free.
Windows 11: the bet of free?
So what about Microsoft’s plans for Windows 11? In view of the pricing changes for Windows, especially when it comes to updates from an old system, it’s a safe bet that moving from Windows 10 to Windows 11 should also be offered for free.
The reverse could be seen as a deception for users. Remember that when Windows 10 arrived, Microsoft declared that it would be the last Windows, and that it would be constantly updated. Charging a Windows 10 upgrade, even calling it 11, would be a tough pill to swallow. On the other hand, Microsoft has embarked on a race for numbers by announcing in 2015 to target one billion Windows 10 installations, a target reached and exceeded today.
We also know that the publisher should announce changes regarding Microsoft Store. Recently CEO Satya Nadella indicated that he wanted to offer a new platform for creators and developers to design, distribute and monetize their creations. A monetization that allows Microsoft to recover a percentage of sales. It is therefore important that the system is adopted by as many users as possible.
All these leads therefore suggest that Microsoft has every interest in offering Windows 11 free of charge, at least for upgrades. However, the system should still pay off for computer manufacturers and individuals who want to equip a machine assembled by themselves.