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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RE: Meh, just do it like Apple.
by unclefester on Fri 25th Apr 2014 02:53 UTC in reply to "Meh, just do it like Apple."
Member since:

Apple makes money from selling hardware with huge profit margins. The OS upgrades are not a major revenue source.

Reply Parent Score: 5

judgen Member since:

And microsoft is also a hardware company now to some extent with the xbox, surface and nokia phones. They could probably make it work.

Reply Parent Score: 3

bryanv Member since:

Microsoft makes their money flogging Office, I fail to see the disconnect.

Apple has high margin on hardware, yes. But they do get residual income off the OS X upgrades.

You also need to keep in mind economies of scale -- there's really no excuse for the biggest OS vendor in the world to have the highest price (to the consumer) OS when it comes upgrade time.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:

Apple has high margin on hardware, yes. But they do get residual income off the OS X upgrades.

Well, I imagine the residual income from upgrades has probably dropped to zero, since they offered the Mavericks update for free...

Reply Parent Score: 4