For the past thirty years, upgrading to a new Windows release meant a purchase. Microsoft has never given away a new version of Windows, until now. At a recent event in Redmond, Washington, CEO Satya Nadella told press that the newest version of Windows (Windows 10) would be a free upgrade for any user currently running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and for Windows phone users.
Why the sudden change of heart? The new free release seems to have happened for two reasons. The first reason is that Windows wants people to quickly adapt and love the new Windows 10. The other reason has something to do with a new product that Microsoft also unveiled at the same event called the ‘Hololens.’
The Unexpected Hololens
Nobody saw the Hololens coming, which is why the announcement of the new headset was such a surprise. Hololens works with the new Windows 10, and makes it possible for users to see 3D holograms. Why would anyone want to see 3D holograms while wearing a headset? For one, some of those holograms would happen through Microsoft’s messaging service Skype. What would a holographic Skype call look like? That bit’s up to your imagination, but Microsoft reps have told press that the company sees holograms as being part of regular life in the future.
Interestingly, Microsoft’s secret Hololens headset has also been announced just days after Google Glass has been mostly scrapped. While Google sees very little future in headsets, this is something that Microsoft is going after full speed ahead. It’s a little hard to understand why Microsoft is putting so much effort and support behind Hololens, but this is the case as it stands today.
Curiously, Microsoft doesn’t seem alarmed that giving away the new Windows 10 will result in a loss of revenue for the company. Previously, Microsoft made most of its money from selling new versions of Windows, and now that the latest version is being given away, it’s clear that the company will lose some money having made this decision.
Instead of selling “boxes” as Nadella put it, the company is going to focus on selling services. Which services the company will be selling or creating more of has yet to be seen, but Microsoft is clearly moving away from the “sell newest versions of Windows to make money” plan that they have stuck to for most of the company’s duration.
In addition to the Hololens and Windows 10, Microsoft also unveiled a new browser yesterday nicknamed “Spartan” that aims to take over Internet Explorer. Spartan will work on all Windows 10 devices, and will incorporate Cortana as well as some other interesting features. If you do have a previous version of Windows and you want to upgrade to Windows 10, you will be able to do so through the Windows website.
Keep in mind that you do have be running one of the versions listed above to do so. Microsoft is certainly moving in a whole new direction, but is it the right one? Time will tell if the company can continue to generate revenue based on this new model, or if the old one simply worked better.