Free Windows 10 Upgrade – Part Generous, Part Desperate

If you’ve been at all wondering why Microsoft seems to be displaying uncharacteristic generosity with its free Windows 10 upgrade offer, which will probably be released sometime after July,  there could well be a pretty simple explanation. Sure the idea of allowing Windows 7 and Windows 8 users alike the chance to upgrade fee-free is a sweet deal, but statistics suggest it to be more of a necessary move given so many users refusing to shift from older versions of Windows.

According to the most recent roundup of data from NetMarketShare, Windows 7 still had a market share throughout January of 55.92% of the total Windows user market. Slightly less popular was Windows XP with a market share for the month of 18.93%, but what’s all the more worrying in both instance is that both figures were actually up compared to the two prior months.

Or in other words, it’s pretty clear that Microsoft’s ongoing push to get folk well and truly away from Windows 7 and XP simply isn’t working. Even with all manner of helpful warnings regarding the apparent security holes that now exist in Windows XP, millions are apparently too happy with what they have to even think about shelling out for an upgrade.

With a bit of luck, Redmond will have a far easier time convincing the world that Windows 10 is the way to go by offering it gratis – to give it away free of charge is really about as much as they can do. The decision to drop Internet Explorer from Windows 10 in favor of a new ‘Spartan’ browser isn’t likely to go down well with purists, but data also suggests that nobody really use IE any more anyway. With a market share of no more than about 2%, chances are the new web browser will be received with little fanfare at best.

Having concluded some time ago that “cheap is better than pricey, free is better than cheap”, the folks at Computerworld at least are hugely optimistic about Windows 10’s takeover. Like many, they’re backing the notion that around a quarter of all PCs on Earth will run the new OS by the end of its first year. But then again, there are those like the ABC News team that are adamant in reminding us all that “not everyone will be getting a free upgrade to Windows 10” which in turn makes hedging bets ahead of time a risky affair.

While all this is going on, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 are both largely ticking over without making any real leaps in either direction. Windows 8 is on a slow and steady decline, while Windows 8.1 is on something of a continuous see-saw from one month to the next.

Will a bona-fide freebie in the form of Windows 10 work wonders in unifying Redmond’s OS market, or are we just heading closer to biblical fragmentation?

Time, it seems, will tell