When Microsoft released Windows 95 almost 20 years ago, people packed into stores to be among the first lucky buyers to get their hands on this cutting edge new technology. Microsoft had an iron grip on productivity software in the enterprise, but even ordinary consumers were accustomed to paying hundreds of dollars for software. Two decades later, Microsoft is releasing Windows 10. But most people won’t have to rush out and purchase a copy. Anyone with a copy of Windows dating back to Windows 7 can upgrade for free, a first for Microsoft.
Whether we’re talking tiny smartphone applications, or entire operating systems, people now expect software to be free. It’s a reality that, obviously, hurts software makers the most. If you’d told me only a few years ago Microsoft would adapt to this new reality this (relatively) quickly, I wouldn’t have believed it.