Which version are you on again? Microsoft to offer free upgrades for Windows 10

Microsoft's Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Operating Systems Group
Microsoft this week stunned the world by announcing it will offer Windows 10 upgrade for free for a year, signalling a shift in how it will be offering support for future upgrades.

While the world is still trying to decipher the mystique behind Windows 10, Microsoft this week announced that users will be able to get free Windows 10 upgrade in the first year of the launch for devices running on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.1.

“This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no additional charge,” Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Operating Systems Group (OSG) (responsible for the software platforms, apps, games among others) wrote on the company’s blog.

When Myerson first announced Windows 10 in September 2014, he touted the new version as “the first step of a whole new generation of Windows”, linking many devices, big and small; far and near.

Windows 10 is built to help operate a broad set of devices – from the Internet of Things, to servers in enterprise datacenters worldwide. “Some of these devices have 4 inch screens – some have 80 inch screens – and some don’t have screens at all. Some of these devices you hold in your hand, others are ten feet away. Some of these devices you primarily use touch/pen, others mouse/keyboard, others controller/gesture – and some devices can switch between input types,” Myerson wrote on the company’s blog.

Windows 10: Applications for multiple devices

“How exactly this programme (Windows 10) will work isn't clear just yet — it'll certainly be subject to some hardware requirements, particularly for older machines running Windows 7. But a simplified upgrade path will likely do a lot to help Windows 10 adoption — rather than dealing with a number of different versions of Windows and different upgrade costs, most consumers will simply take this free update and enjoy running Microsoft's latest,” Verge writes.

The question Forbes asks is whether Microsoft’s announcement of free Windows 10 upgrade is a precursor of how smart phone developers announce upgrades to their operating systems.

Judging by early responses, users and developers are eager to be guinea pigs. Microsoft says over 1.7 million users have joined its Windows Insider Program who have tested and provided over 800,000 pieces of feedback.

View Microsoft's Windows 10 story here

How Windows 10 will apply on mobiles

How Windows 10 will change user experience and interface across different devices