Makers Should Worry About Microsoft’s New Strategy

September 09, 2015 by Jennifer A. Diffley

Windows 10 is the last numbered Windows operating systems, and its advent also marks the last of Microsoft's single purchase model. From here on out, customers can expect to pay per year for their software, which gives rise to a host of problems and spells a shift in the way software companies align with makers.

The pay-as-you-go model is another misstep in the company's flawed trajectory.

Back in May, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would be their last numbered operating system. That's not to say that 10 is the last Windows ever: it's still Microsoft's hottest product, they're just switching to a much more annoying customer model. From here on out, Microsoft will release updates and patches that will grow Windows continuously instead of releasing a single platform for a flat fee and its subsequent updates for free.

Microsoft sent out millions of emails inviting users to upgrade to Windows 10 for no cost...but they neglected to mention the timeframe in which the new operating system would actually remain free. It's the old "first one's free adage," but this time it's a technological dependency instead of a chemical one--that still doesn't make it any less nefarious.

The new Windows 10 is the last numbered operating system before Windows switches to a pay-as-you-go model.

The new model is undoubtedly a way to squeeze more money out of customers while grasping for loyalty among a fleeing fan base, but it may end up backfiring. One of the main reasons updates and patches were released for free was that they helped protect the individual computer as well as the network it was attached to from security vulnerabilities. An attack on an exposed computer inevitably put others at risk as well, so the updates benefited both Microsoft and its users.

Now, however, those security patches and upgrades are going to cost. And that means, for the users who refuse to or simply can't pay, they'll be exposed to a host of problems ranging from minor glitches to massive vulnerabilities.

For makers, the pay-as-you-go model could lead to further difficulties, both in hardware that simply won't function correctly without updated software that can't be gotten without paying, and in customers who are simply fed up with Microsoft altogether and are unwilling to buy computers with Windows software. 

And what about Windows 10 IoT Core? Here's a worst-case scenario to consider: if Microsoft makes all its software pay-as-you-go, then that means its IoT software is included. That software could very well control devices in your home which, if you haven't paid to keep the software running it updated, could leave physical objects around you accessible to others through security vulnerabilities. Far-fetched, sure, but not entirely out of the question. 

The pay-as-you-go model that others like Adobe have adopted can sometimes be useful. Photoshop, for instance, has adopted a monthly fee schedule that makes the photo editing software much cheaper than buying the $700 software outright. That makes it much more accessible to the average user. But what about the fee for Windows? No definitive word on that cost.

The end result is yet another fee to add onto a society that's already billed to death and a product that becomes quickly obsolete if not continuously paid for.

  • B
    BSD September 11, 2015

    “Makers Should Worry About Microsoft’s New Strategy”

    I don’t care either.

    Free, opensource software is the only way to go. I’m not going to be an MS bitch, always getting screwed.

    Like. Reply
  • L
    lazarus78 September 18, 2015

    “...but they neglected to mention the timeframe in which the new operating system would actually remain free.”

    Apparently you missed the part where they said “A year from release”. You can upgrade free within the first year. Or you can skip all that and buy an installation disc.

    The news stories on here seem to lack actual research.

    Like. Reply
  • jshakil September 18, 2015

    @BSD. Hahaha, great username and comment!

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  • G
    gnagy October 23, 2015

    Who cares?
    Linux is a way better platform and ecosystem for makers. This will give the final push for those last holdouts to dump Windows.
    This is good for everybody.
    Windows’ overall market share just dropped below 70%, as of October 1st 2015 and it’s falling steadily, so the writing is on the wall…

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    • P
      pvltech November 26, 2015
      The avera joe and jane doe purchasing computer with Windows that made the computer eay to use for them is what brought the price of computers drastically, not every computer is a maker. Linux in it's present state isn't going to replace Windows. Just too many Linix distributions to wade through computer manufactures are going to have to seek out a Linux distro whose developers are willing to work win manufacture to create an OS and Gui that average Joe and Jane find easy to use. We would still be free to install what distro we like as we are now Not sure what legal issues would be involved with that, but I think that Microsoft has set precents in tha model already. Lock Joe and Jane out expect the prices of computers rise dramatically. I don't think linux is resposable for Windows loosing market share. Just that more people are using net chromebooks and tablets or smat spone for much of their computing needs. Yes Open Source has toe in their ,but is becauseOS developers worked with manufacturers. Not to mention the Apple tablets finding their way into schools. I'm not anti Linux in fact I have the Linux distro I chose to replace XP on my note book up dating behind me.
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  • rldipaolo February 05, 2016

    Having been software savvy since before Bill Gates had even written a single line of code I saw the Microsoft “handwriting on the wall” way back when they started to refuse to directly sell DOS to those who built their own PCs way back in the 80s (I was there in the room the day my employer’s IT head was on the phone with them asking why they refused to take our next order - that is the moment in history when Microsoft began to consider itself above its customers).  Ever since that day my distaste for Microsoft has continued to grow (as I write this comment on my Linux Mint PC) as IMHO nobody is above their customers - shame on Microsoft for ever thinking so!!!!!  So in a sense, this is very old news to me yet what is surprising is that Microsoft continues to try to escalate the war against the consumer even to this day, all the while pretending to be our friend.  DON’T BE DECEIVED!  Microsoft is not anyone’s friend and cares not a bit for their customers except for how much they can squeeze them for.  Nothing wrong with marketing a product for a profit, but what Microsoft has chosen to make their business model is nothing short of evil and I for one will shed not a tear when their fall comes about (which it will, it’s only a matter of time).  I feel sorry for those of us too young to remember a time when the tech industry was actually proud of its ethical standards and was proud to serve its customers (yes, a time like that actually did exist long ago) - although this spirit still lives on in the open source movement, a spirit born in the day before Microsoft decided that it was willing to sell its soul to rule the world.

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  • Greenhornet January 14, 2017

    Just joined the Linux Mint crowds about 12 months ago, and loving it.
    Pretty easy and straight forward distro, after fluffing with Ubuntu for years
    Have XP, Win7, Ipads, but the best is Mint for my use, monetizing software is good for corporate,
    but I have donated to Open Source and will continue to, as it is a relief to use a robust and happy OS.
    Somethings we dont need.

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