Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 24th Apr 2014 23:12 UTC

Peter Bright making the case for subscription-based Windows.

Microsoft has already made Windows free to OEMs for tablets with screens below a certain size. Making it free to everyone but without the desktop would be a logical extension of this. It gives Microsoft the tools to compete with both Android on tablets and Chrome OS on laptops, while still not cutting it out of the revenue loop entirely. Desktop-less Windows should provide Microsoft with some amount of revenue through applications bought in the Store.

To this, add a couple of levels of unlocks: one tier for regular Windows desktop features (offering parity with the feature set of Windows 8.1 today), and a second, higher tier for Windows corporate features (offering parity with Windows 8.1 Pro). These could be both persistent unlocks or periodic subscriptions. Microsoft has already had persistent operating system unlocks since Windows Vista's Anytime Upgrade feature, so none of this would be hugely different from what's gone before.

The facts and rumours do line up, but honestly - free/subscription-based Windows is right up there with a TV from Apple when it comes to long-running, always-returning but never materialising rumours.

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No Thanks
by Xaero_Vincent on Fri 25th Apr 2014 01:59 UTC
Member since:

Windows subscriptions would be an utter failure if pushed on general home users as a requirement, because it might entail them having to pay just for the privilege of using their computer operating system. Unless upgrading or building a custom PC, few end-users actually buy Windows, rather instead buy a new computer that comes with it pre-loaded and have it freely and permanently accessible as an expectation.

Reply Score: 6

RE: No Thanks
by unclefester on Fri 25th Apr 2014 02:55 in reply to "No Thanks"
unclefester Member since:

Selling low cost subscriptions would increase the sale of whitebox PCs.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: No Thanks
by WereCatf on Fri 25th Apr 2014 03:53 in reply to "RE: No Thanks"
WereCatf Member since:

Selling low cost subscriptions would increase the sale of whitebox PCs.

And why do you reckon that would be?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: No Thanks
by unclefester on Fri 25th Apr 2014 06:21 in reply to "No Thanks"
unclefester Member since:

My sister had a perfectly functional 10 year old PC. The XP install totally f***ed up after a forced restart and I was unable to repair or reinstall the legal copy of XP. I decided to install Xubuntu instead. She wasn't happy but the alternative was buying or building a new PC.

ps She nows loves Xubuntu and I don't have to constantly remove cruft and spyware.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: No Thanks
by unclefester on Fri 25th Apr 2014 06:30 in reply to "No Thanks"
unclefester Member since:

Unfortunately many home users are pretty much locked in to the Windows/Office ecosystem due to work and school practicalities. A few years ago I did an university course which was literally impossible to complete without access to a Windows PC.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: No Thanks
by Adurbe on Fri 25th Apr 2014 18:40 in reply to "No Thanks"
Adurbe Member since:

I'm not so sure it Will fail because I don't think it will be implemented in the manner you describe.

Don't think of it like an antivirus subscription which simply stops working once your year runs out, think of it more like Xbox Live.

I can happily use my Xbox but certain features require Gold. Playing games online, watching catch up TV, and so on. I still get Xbox system updates regardless of if I pay or not.

A few examples (off the top of my head) features could be upsold as 'Windows Gold';

Online gaming
Catch up TV apps (as per on the Xbox)
AD login (thereby almost forcing big businesses)
Cloud data backup
Required for office (I forse the two becoming synonymous)
x minutes free Skype calls

I assume they will also have in mind a killer feature or two which I haven't thought of :-p

Reply Parent Score: 3