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 tanishaj on Sun 27th Apr 2014 02:16 UTC in reply to "Meh, just do it like Apple."
Member since:

Sell a license to the OS, make the upgrade inexpensive enough that you're crazy -not- to do it, shorten the release cycle, and make smaller more incremental changes.

This problem was solved 10 years ago by an intrepid company that has shown it works.

I fail to see why this is hard to understand.

Apple makes all their money on hardware (minus iTunes sales of course). It makes sense for them to make the OS free or very low cost. It makes sense for them to make sure that everybody is using the latest software and that key features do not work on older hardware.

Microsoft makes their money on software. In general, other people make the hardware. It is an entirely different model.

Microsoft is trying to co-evolve the IBM services and Apple-style devices businesses as well though. So, it may go the way you suggest eventually.

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