Windows 10 just become a lot more interesting.
Microsoft Windows boss Terry Myerson just announced that Windows 10 will be free to anyone using Windows 7 or 8.1 on a PC and Windows 8.1 on a phone. The offer is good for a year after Windows 10 goes on sale later this year.
But it’s not like a free software disc. Microsoft is going to offer Windows 10 as a service, Myerson said.
That suggests that you’ll eventually end up paying annually for the software, support or related services, similar to the way Office has migrated toward a service.
So while traditionalists may be happy with the restoration the PC desktop and start menu in Windows 10, they should brace themselves for a new business model.
UPDATE: I asked Satya Nadella and Terry Myerson whether there will be subscription charges for Windows 10 after the free upgrade offer, since they’re pitching Windows 10 as a service.
They said that the business model isn’t changing and the cost of Windows 10 will be included in the cost of a PC or other device. I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually figure out other ways to monetize the software – perhaps with charges for extra online services – but that’s the word today.