Is this the time of free updates?

iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Mac OS and obviously Linux are all free to update… Yes, Windows 10 I’m looking to you.

All the major software providers have realized that the fragmentation is a really big problem when you are planning to give support, minor updates and fix bugs, because for every OS to still support you will have more and more teams focusing on details instead of put them together to work on a single idea.

Microsoft was born when they sold licenses to manufacturers to sell their OS in their machines, definitely the key of success. It was a simple model; you make the hardware, I make the software. A pretty convenient way in which Microsoft was the great winner converting the brand in one of the most valuable of all times. There was a moment when talking about a windows update was a motive to go crazy in a store, similar to the hype for an iPhone.

But the business models have changed and now, everybody is on the train of free updates, so… now you don’t get money from selling your OS and I think Microsoft won’t be OK with this. But they must mutate if they want to survive. Let me be clear, making your customers pay to get the latest version of your OS won’t end well, because just a few will pay, and the rest is the problem. Most of them won’t migrate to another platform, that is for sure, the real problem is that they will remain in their OS, for example when Windows Vista came out a lot of us remained on XP because Vista… wasn’t that awesome and you know the rest of the story. When Windows 7 came out I changed my PC and that’s why I got Windows 7.

But when Windows 8 came out I waited some months and… didn’t switch to 8. I stayed on Windows 8, because when you are using Windows you are not expecting to be on the latest OS, you expect to be on the most stable, free, familiar and that gives you less issues. If you ask me I am not considering upgrade to Windows 10, and that is a problem; Microsoft must give support to all the people like me, the people that resist to go to a newer Windows because you will have to pay for a now familiar and less awesome version.

According to Wikipedia, by the number of users Microsoft must take care of Windows XP(officially out of Mainstream support), Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and now 10 users. Yep, a little too much users. So, the idea of making a hard transition to a new OS is something that Microsoft should have out of their heads.

Along the years Microsoft has shown interest in separate the ways on how they get profits in divisions, resulting on Microsoft Research, Windows team, Windows Phone, Surface, OneDrive, XBOX, Office, Development, Bing, Skype, Microsoft Studios, Services, Education and Enterprises. Just to mention some of them. And part of the problem is that not all of them give profits, for example XBOX is losing the battle against the PS4 and in sales even versus the Wii U, and we won’t start with Bing, all the money invested on Nokia and the failure of the Surface tablets in the past…

Watching some of the divisions falling apart is not a good indicator of management so Microsoft should adjust its belt and start acting with sense; Giving Windows 10 for free, but not just for Windows 8 users, it must be free for everyone. Yep, that’s it. It won’t solve the financial crisis but it will give a huge amount of air for the Windows team; the biggest team. Making all the users an easy way to be united on 10 will give them control and confidence.

After all, Microsoft dominated the market because they dominated OS, giving them the OS that everybody has will make the product attractive for users, manufacturers and developers. The profits will come when the brand consolidates 10 and their services become fundamental part of the OS, like Office and its subscription and OneDrive and its huge amount of space on the cloud for a reasonable cost.

Have a different opinion? Don’t hesitate to share it.

-W

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