Why Microsoft is giving away Windows 10 for free

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Microsoft Windows 10: Should you upgrade?.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system should start hitting US computers on Wednesday, marking one of the biggest launches in the company’s history. In the opening of a (truly hilarious) Microsoft promo video for Windows 95, the narrator says, “I just want a new operating system!” That’s exactly what we’ve been taught to look forward to every few years, and Wednesday’s release of Windows 10 feels like a satisfying step in the progression.

A few years after what could charitably be called a disastrous launch for Windows 8, Microsoft needs the new system to move forward while also making amends. While some feel it may not be a super hit, despite a free update for those with versions above Windows 7, others say it will prove more of use on devices other than personal computers, like smartphones, tablets and other handhelds.

But this time things are different, because this is “the last version of Windows.” As the Verge reported in May, Microsoft developers started talking about a fundamental shift in Windows at the company’s Ignite conference. Instead of the periodic large releases of big-name operating systems, Microsoft wanted to make Windows 10 a streamlined, device-agnostic platform that could be reinvented whenever and however the company wanted on any given day. Windows 10 fixes many of those mistakes but still manages to incorporate enough new touches to plot a clear course to the more mobile, touchscreen-based future.

Interacting with technology is as natural as interacting with people – using voice, pen, gestures and even gaze for the right interaction, in the right way, at the right time.” Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett said Microsoft faces a tough task in catching up with Google and Apple in the mobile space. Nevertheless, Windows 10 will also help those with pirated versions of Microsoft operating systems to migrate to an authentic version, making room for a wide range of applications to choose from. “At the enterprise level, adoption will vary.

That makes the best of Microsoft’s uniquely tricky position: It needs to design a system that appeases modern consumers who want changes and upgrades quickly, while still pleasing its business users who tend to be a bit more conservative when it comes to new systems. Windows’ smartphone market share is around 3%, compared to roughly 80% for Google’s Android phone and 15% for the Apple iPhone. “While it will win a growing share of enterprise tablet purchases, the plans for Windows 10 don’t show enough potential to create a differentiated mobile experience that will draw developers and customers away from iOS and Android.” Richard Edwards, analyst at the consultancy Ovum, said Microsoft is looking beyond mobile to emerging technologies including wearables and other connected devices. Depending on how you look at it, this is either Microsoft stepping boldly into a brave new world where operating systems are given away for free — Apple’s OS X has been free since 2013, iOS has been free for years, and Google’s Android has been free since the day it was conceived — or doing some serious damage control on the heels of the debacle that was Windows 8. In a statement about Windows 10 on Tuesday, Microsoft said, “Windows 10 is delivered as a service and kept automatically up-to-date with innovations and security updates.” It’s a mental shift from thinking of operating systems as individual releases to thinking of them as boundless platforms. Windows 10 – Microsoft skipped directly from Windows 8, which got a lacklustre response – is being offered as a free upgrade for most devices, making it possible to be available quickly on billions of devices.

Windows 8, Microsoft’s last operating system, released in 2012, alienated millions of people by artificially bolting on a touchscreen interface onto an operating system that was primarily meant to be used on desktops. Wired’s David Pierce summed up its problems in a single sentence: “Windows 8 was full of jarring movements, from full-screen app to full-screen settings to full-screen Start; unless you knew the complicated gestures and keyboard shortcuts, getting around was a chore.” With Windows 10, Microsoft is putting the desktop first — again. It is also about security, compatibility and manageability,” said Vishal Tripathi, research director at Gartner India. “Organisations use legacy- and custom-based applications than regular plug-and-play software. Microsoft hopes to break the cycle in which consumers shun Windows for mobile because it lacks the large catalog of applications found on rival platforms, thus discouraging app makers from creating Windows versions. But users are able to look at all of their programs, access the settings menu and pin things to the Start Menu or task bar — just as they were able to in older versions of Windows.

Hit apps could ramp up popularity of Windows-driven hardware made by Microsoft and its partners, and increase opportunities for the company to make money from online activities such as search, shopping and software as services in the Internet cloud. Microsoft’s touch-friendly apps now run side-by-side with their traditional mouse-and-keyboard counterparts in separate windows and not full-screen by default.

Those that recently migrated to Windows 7 will not move away too quickly, while others will wait and watch,” Tripathi told IANS According to Prasanto K. There are also additional features like Cortana, a voice-activated digital assistant, and a brand new browser called Edge, which replaces Microsoft’s infamous Internet Explorer, and lets you annotate web pages.

Roy, a noted technology writer and chief editor of Trivone, a media and digital services company, Windows is an overhaul of the previous version that had flopped. Bob O’Donnell at the research firm Technalysis said the new operating system may help stimulate new sales of computers and other hardware – a phenomenon of the past which has been absent in recent Windows releases. “I’m still hopeful that the PC industry will see some decent upside from Windows 10, particularly in the fourth quarter of this year and into 2016,” he said. “The primary reason for my optimism is that Microsoft has actually integrated quite a few new capabilities into Windows 10 that will benefit from new hardware.” – AFP

But getting enterprises to upgrade to it will be near-impossible. “This apart, PC sales are also weak and Windows users don’t upgrade the way Mac OS users (or iOS users) do when a new OS is launched. That certainly changed to phones,” said Vineet Durani, director of Microsoft India Windows Business Division, to Hindustan Times. “What’s the guarantee that the phone is going to be that centre for a lifetime? Microsoft has also cleaned out the cobwebs from its browser, ditching the much-reviled Internet Explorer in favor of a new program called Microsoft Edge. Another analyst, Kiran Kumar of IDC, said India has an installed base of 55-60 million personal computers, out of which some 55 percent are with individual consumers while the remaining are with businesses and institutions. “An increase of even 1.5-2 percent in PC volumes will mean around 10 million additional volumes.

Predictable fixed duration development periods allow us to determine how much work we can do in a fixed amount of time, and makes schedule communication simple. I can say this: In the week or so I spent with the system on a Surface Pro 3 provided by Microsoft for review, I wasn’t tempted to download other browsers. We basically wanted to operate more like trains leaving Grand Central Station (regularly scheduled and always on time), and less like taxis leaving the Bronx (ad hoc and unpredictable). Incremental updates serve Windows 10’s goal of being a universal operating system and offering “one experience” across PCs, tablets, phones, Raspberry Pi, Xbox One, and HoloLens (plus the 2,000 devices Microsoft says it’s testing for compatability). As it goes head to head with competing devices from Apple and Google, which have captured both mind and market shares seemingly overnight, Microsoft has its job cut out for it.

If nothing else, streamlining the update process makes devices more secure, because they automatically get their patches and bug fixes instead of relying on users to initiate a download. It’s the type of feature that you may not have known you wanted, but could get very useful over time if you want to quickly draw someone’s attention to a particular portion of a Web page. The tension between the desire for agility versus stability poses a huge challenge for IT Pros,” Microsoft said. “The new Windows must be built from the ground-up for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. The pressing question, then, will be whether Microsoft can deliver significant innovations and redesigns without affecting Windows’ daily performance.

Windows 10 is culling usage statistics to suggest times for automatic restarts (so updates can take effect), and presumably many updates will happen behind the scenes without requiring a restart at all. But Microsoft will need a way to generate excitement about new features as they come out, work carefully to avoid pushing out flawed updates, and generally keep users informed. Cortana — if you use her — is constantly updating you on your schedule and serving up news and other information based on your own preferences and other Microsoft services you use. The software can also let you know if there’s traffic on the way to your next meeting or set reminders based on the time, your location or even specific people. Cortana has the potential to become very useful: Microsoft even talked to real-life personal assistants as it designed Cortana to figure out the best way to pull up relevant information.

There are enough new features to tempt you even if you aren’t that into the fancy voice-controlled stuff, such as better search features and an overall better browser. It’s familiar enough so that most people will probably feel comfortable upgrading, with a sprinkling of new user-centric features that shows Microsoft’s eyes are on the future.

Windows 10 has clearly been designed with that thought in mind — whether it’s enough to convince people to love their Windows PCs remains to be seen.

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