Windows

Microsoft should get used to giving Windows away for free

The mobile revolution has changed the way businesses and users think about operating system upgrades. Free is now the expected norm. Will this work for Microsoft?

 

Free Windows
 

Microsoft is hard at work on Windows 9, while pleading with users to make a switch off of the archaic Windows XP. One way Microsoft can reduce friction and improve the adoption rate of new versions of Windows is to simply make the operating system free.

With less than two months left until Microsoft officially ends support for Windows XP, the operating system still has nearly a third of the desktop market, according to NetMarketShare. A recent Tech Pro Research study found that 37% of Windows XP users plan to stick with the OS even after support expires, and one in five of those stubborn users cited cost as the primary factor.

What if cost wasn’t a factor?

The most common way for businesses and individuals to get a new operating system is by purchasing a new PC. There are many updates and patches developed for the OS over the years, but when the next major version is developed, you traditionally either buy a new PC or pay for the new version of the operating system.

Two things have ruined that simple dynamic, and both of them are Apple’s fault. First, Apple started producing major updates to Mac OS X on an annual cycle, and it made the upgrade to the new version available for only $30. Meanwhile, Microsoft was still trying to convince users to pay $100 or more -- offering a confusing array of options and licensing models -- to do essentially the same thing with Windows. Predictably, Apple has a much higher success rate of moving users to the most current version of the OS, while Microsoft is still begging people to abandon Windows XP.

The second factor is the mobile revolution. Again, most people get a new mobile OS by acquiring a new mobile device. But, when a new version of the mobile OS is made available, it's simply pushed out as an available update for all applicable devices. Because of interference from device manufacturers and wireless providers, it can still take months -- or even years -- for some Android devices to get the “latest” OS, but when Apple launches a new version of iOS, it's very quickly embraced. As of January 2014, four out of five eligible devices have made the switch to iOS 7 in a matter of just a few months.

Then, Apple dropped a bomb with the latest release of its desktop OS. It announced that Mac OS X 10.9-- a.k.a. “Mavericks” -- would also be available for free.

Microsoft offered a limited-time bargain for Windows 8 that users should have taken advantage of, but even that was still $40. Windows 8.1 was offered for free, but that's an incremental update akin to Windows 8 Service Pack 1. The real test will be Windows 9.

Cost is not the only factor. In fact, in the aforementioned Tech Pro Research report, users sticking with Windows XP noted other important factors, including “It works, so there’s no need to change” and “Crucial software depends on Windows XP.” Even if Microsoft gave away Windows 7 or Windows 8, it seems that roughly 80% of users surveyed would continue to use Windows XP.

Moving forward, though, the combination of ubiquitous mobile devices receiving free OS upgrades and Apple setting the precedent of free OS upgrades at the desktop level mean that Microsoft will essentially be obligated to follow that lead and make Windows 9 and subsequent operating systems free.

Granted, that means Microsoft would be giving up a major source of revenue. But giving the OS away for free will help Microsoft maintain its dominance of desktop OS market share and boost the Microsoft brand. Microsoft will just have to capitalize on that OS dominance to make up the difference in revenue from other products and services. 

Do you think free software will help Microsoft maintain its dominance on the desktop? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.

Read also

 

 

About

Tony Bradley is a principal analyst with Bradley Strategy Group. He is a respected authority on technology, and information security. He writes regularly for Forbes, and PCWorld, and contributes to a wide variety of online and print media outlets. He...

139 comments
Heie
Heie

The problem with new windows programs is more than cost. My issue is they do not support older still functional equipment. They do not permit older drivers. Under Gates versions built on each other and allowed upgrading your existing machine running older windows as well as new features for new hardware. Also, Microsoft captured the industry because all versions were enough compatible that you could sit down at a new machine and do work while learning new features.

I think Microsoft has lost the position of being the industry standard by making new software that is not backward compatible. - If you have to learn a whole new system, why not Lunix or Android?

magic penguins
magic penguins

Windows appears to have a problem with not understanding economics and incentives to the point that it hurts them. Aka, putting paywalls in the wrong places.  

It's the reason why the apps for Windows Phone- there are so few, because of the obstacles developers have to jump in order to put an app out there.  (Unless I'm mistaken.  I hope I am, haha.)  My friend (who, unluckily for her, has Windows phone) despairs of this.


But on the other hand, it's true there are two factors, money, and design of the OS.  The mac new OS's often keep a similar and consistent type of design, with a few tweaks, and make it easy access by not having a paywall.  For Windows, the new OS is *completely* different in design from the old, and it's often a lot of older people who use Windows, so they don't want to change from learning one operating system to virtually another.  Mac doesn't have that problem because it's pretty consistent.  But even if they consider (hard for them) changing, the paywall stops in the track.  It's kind of like Windows is shooting itself in the ass.


I've a hunch if they put out a new alternate operating system, that yes, did look like non 'cool' XP, but was more robust in the way it worked under the hood, and didn't have too big a paywall that perhaps the crowd who don't want to completely have to learn a new OS would consider it.

I personally love the design of the Mac OS better though :P

gri
gri

I'm all for free OS... but I think the big difference between Apple and Microsoft revenue is the price of hardware... not the OS software. Microsoft hardly competes with Surface - making very little profit on it over all, while Apple charges absurdly on a new Mac's - and can give away free OS's. 

Microsoft have partners building and selling hardware/computers, even if it appears to end customers that OS comes free in a new computer - it does not! The same can be said about Apple's Mac computers, they surely include the price of OS on their new computers/devices.

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

It wouldnt hurt but with Microsoft they have to stop trying to force what people do not want down the consumers throat. people buy what they need and like and as evident in the entire WP line and with the push of Windows 8 they refused to listen to the publics wants and even in beta testing all the of the dislikes and the reports for must have Microsoft completely ignored that and went in a completely different direction. In Windows 8 beta testing the modern ui was all but though to be the worse idea ever and people were very vocal they did not want it or at very least should be allowed an aoption at install to not have it but boot to a normal windows desktop. The start button and menu was there but for some reason they yanked it and again almost all beta testers made a huge point that it must be there or its a no go. Microsoft ignored that again, The result was god awful windows 8 uptake and a windows phone you can hardly give away for free.

ghost965
ghost965

It definetly wouldn't hurt, Most people that have used and/or purchased Microsoft operating systems have been sticking with Microsoft for a long time, what would be wrong with giving them something for free once. it's agood idea I'm still running XP on a desktop but if I was offered a free version of windows 8 and/or 9 would definetly upgrade.

michaelransier
michaelransier

Yes, Yes, Yes, Without knowing it Microsoft will go the way of all the other companies that can not get the reason why....... They are in the business of serving their users, not the other way around. The money lost on getting the 35% plus off XP and on to W8 could made up on the applications that now run on the RT side of the W8 software. in the end it is about Microsoft start thinking about the W8 as a cheap $25 printer and the Ink that goes with are the RT Apps!!!!



King of Versailles
King of Versailles

Keeping business paying for the OS and the productivity suite is the foundation of Microsofts business. A Microsoft Enterprise agreement keeps you locked into the Microsoft world tighter than the grip a drug dealer has on an addict. You even get threatened by the SAM stick if you try to escape.  If Microsoft allows the OS to go free in an attempt to match its competition it will also have to let its productivity suite go free as its competition also does that. As every good addict knows you are far better off with a dealer that provides free drugs and no SAM sticks than a tough master that charges for your beatings. The free strategy will certainly undermine Microsofts whole revenue stream, but in the long term if Microsoft doesn't do this, its whole business will slide, so Microsoft is caught between being uncompetitive in the short term and losing the whole game in the long term.... You can see Microsoft is now scrambling to redefine its revenue stream as we speak. The writing is on the wall for the Redmond guys and unless they too come out with a game changer its going to be a long slow death like Novel in the 90s.


Hope the Microsoft watch comes out soon.... It has an animation of Balmer dancing a jig on the Titanic....Not even new Captain Nadella can save them.....:)


MJG2112
MJG2112

For me, it comes down to this... Smartphones and tablets, the inspiration behind W8, were built on the premise of providing greater accessibility of certain computing functionality beyond the stationary PC. This expansion came, however, at a cost: 1) Limited program scope (renamed to apps to appease marketing) & 2) Inefficient input methods. In short, this architecture provided greater access for less functionality.


In using the smartphone model as an interface for a PC operating system, W8 tried to move the user from the keyboard to a touch screen approach. Anyone who has ever had to use a PC for more than YouTube or Facebook, knows this method is an absolute productivity killer. This is perhaps echoed in many of the complaints registered by most users of W8. The PC is the opposite of a smartphone (or tablet), it is designed for an efficient interface within a more-or-less stationary setting. In many cases this setting is in a production environment where the old adage is still true: time is money.


If someone were to ask me how to change W8 for a more universal acceptance, my answer would be simple. Keep the tile interface but make the desktop screen identical to W7 (including the Start Menu) and give the user the option of which interface to boot into. Problem solved - smartphone familiarity and maintained productivity all in one package.

lallen2064
lallen2064

There are several assumptions being made in this article that I do not believe hold up to reality.  First there is an assumption that the cost of the Windows operating system is the primary reason for the many PCs that are still running XP.  I think that is a simply a flawed assumption that does not take in account the way users view devices (PCs, laptops, and mobile).  Many of these recalcitrant XP users have simply had no compelling reason to upgrade their hardware that is still running XP.  By far most Windows upgrades require better hardware than was necessary under XP.  If Microsoft has not tempted them with new features in its newer O/S or Office products, then why bother.  


Second, the problem is not with XP, but with Microsoft's recognition of its own product user base and their purchasing behaviors.  In the last 15 years, you can see the patterns of user behavior.  Most do not upgrade an existing PC/laptop beyond "fix" updates until they replace the existing PC/Laptop.  Corporations are one of the largest buyers of Windows and they often lease on a 3 year (or longer) cycle and likewise will not upgrade unless there is a compelling reason in terms of features that make business sense for an upgrade.  Corporations are looking at the cost of hundreds if not thousands of licenses beyond just the O/S as well as any home-grown applications that may require "upgrades" to remain compatible.  It is not unreasonable at all for a corporation to look at 5-6 years as being a minimum time to stay with an O/S and have no reason to incur unnecessary upgrade costs before hardware leasing cycle compels them to do otherwise.  You can see this going back to Win98, ME, XP, Vista, Win7, Win8.  Win8 was almost doomed to mediocrity from the start just based on buying patterns.


Third and perhaps the most important function is the difference in platforms which the article seems to ignore.  Different devices fit different purposes in the marketplace smart phones, tablets, laptops, desktops cannot all be lumped into the one size fits all category.  PCs are seeing declining market share not due to their weakness as a viable platform, but instead due to the smart phone and tablet better fitting a computing need in a mobile environment.  Lets face it many PC users never needed the power of a PC for just answering email, browsing the web and watching videos - a table or smart phone is enough for these needs.  We are not seeing the demise of the PC platform, but a shift to an allocation of computing to better suite user's computing needs.  There will still remain tasks for which a PC is the best fit and others where a tablet/smart phone are the best fit. 

Microsoft's chief failing with Win 8/8.1 is not its price but instead its fit in the market place.  It is an O/S trying to be one size fits all.  As a result is not terribly good at any platform - not bad but but not really good or great.  Win8 has definitely not proven a reason to abandon Windows 7 or even XP.  Most Windows desktop users have utterly no use for the touch enabled single tasking Win8 UI that is Win8's default UI.  While the less demanding stripped down Win8UI makes some sense for smart phones/tablets, it is viewed as a UI downgrade for Windows desktop users.  On top of this, add the fact that many individual and corporate users have no "business" reason to upgrade until their hardware demands it, only exacerbates the problem for Microsoft. 


Sisyphus12
Sisyphus12

Computers are more flexible, and adaptable to change,  than people and organisations.  The only valid reason for changing or abandoning a user-software interface is if it is defective in some way.  If not, then the upgrade path should always support the use of an earlier interface, for the sake of compatibility. I worked for a large-scale system supplier, selling systems costing millions of pounds a time: our customers, such as large-scale banks and airlines,  did not want to retrain their staff and modify software for each new O/S release, and this was a major factor when it came to upgrading hardware.  We had maintained compatibility of the O/S user-interface for more than 30 years before I retired. and our computers still power some of the largest online and RealTime systems in the world.  Individual PC and Laptop users cannot exert so much power, and the Team-Leaders in Microsoft are evidently allowed more freedom to make changes than they deserve.  Maybe the new man at the top will recognise this, but it's getting very late..        

Labrynth
Labrynth

Microsoft Corp is heavy with bloat. They could afford to give Windows 9 away for free and retroactively give away Windows 8.0/8.1 for free if they wanted to. Since they have changed their business model, changed their software now to where it looks and feels like OS/2 Warp with a Kindergarden GUI, it should be able to run even on older Windows XP Machines.


We don't need 3 or 4 or 5 different versions of a Desktop Operating System (as they commonly did with Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8). One will plainly suffice. Since Microsoft quit going to the User Base for input on their Operating Systems, it could backfire on them if they don't get the loyalists back they have abandoned.


aleks_kleyn
aleks_kleyn

In this story you need to keep in mind that price twice more expensive than price of windows pc. probably this includes price of future change in OS. but not everybody has option to pay $2000 for new PC. there is also other problem. If I want to instal C compiler on Mac OS i have to pay money . But express studio is free in windows and this helps to learn new tool .

johnpinna
johnpinna

My opinion:

1. Charge for the OS but make something GREAT that people want to buy.  The days of creating incremental upgrades with minor functionality are over.

2. Focus on business.  Apple and Google has captured the home market.  Focus on one thing and do it great.


3. Stop with the ridiculous versions of windows: home, professional, ultimate, etc - just create one - and make it great!

Poli Tecs
Poli Tecs

Absolutely!

And continue with the devices. I got the Surface one release day. Even after having to get it replaced I loved it! Most of all, I loved the fact it took my literally 30 minutes on a very busy store day to get it replaced - one questions asked - "do you like it"? I told the MS store tech I LOVE IT as she handed me my new one!

This weekend I sold that one to a friend and took my earnings and got the Surface 2. Wow, in love all over again!

The design is phenomenal! The craftsmanship is exquisite correcting all the issues from v1 like the sim location, two stage kickstand and the new touch keyboard is awesome!

Stay in hardware development MS and pre-load the OS for free. That's an Apple Killer!

john.tatum
john.tatum

The other issue here is Microsoft Windows is not a very good O/S.  It is and will always be a huge target for hackers and malicious groups whereas Linux is not nearly as problematic.  Linux is a choice O/S and is free. The nice thing about Linux is you can either utilize the Open Office or Office Lebre suites that cost you absolutely nothing, or you can install the Open Source add on called Wine and run Microsoft Office products without having to worry about keeping your O/S always on edge, i.e. Windows XX.  The argument that Linux is too difficult to manage and operate is quickly becoming an invalid statement. The GUI desktops eliminate the cumbersome need to extensively have the Linux skills that were once needed by Systems Administrators etc. And if businesses complain that they need MS Office Products, that too is not entirely a true statement.  There are many alternatives to Microsoft products available, at no cost, to individuals and companies that would reduce costs and provide a much better security environment than that of Microsoft Windows.  Now that said, I am not saying the Linux is completely free of security issues. I am saying that there are far less security issues which makes Linux a prime choice for organizations and businesses to adopt.

josephrot
josephrot

With the past disasters of ME, Vista and Win 8, one would have thought that Microsoft would have learned to not sell OS's charging at every turn, and for every upgrade. The fact that they currently still do it, in the face of Apple's smart moves, almost points to the conclusion that MS will eventually lose their shirts, and quite possibly any commanding "lead" in OS usage. MS's greed has done both users and MS a grave disservice.

clowny200
clowny200

I believe that this can work if MS takes a page out of the much maligned Linux/Unix OS. Streamline processes and make the OS use less of....well everything a PC, laptop, et al has to offer, and then they may have a winner, because acquiring Nokia is only going to destroy the Nokia brand.

firstaborean
firstaborean

Generally speaking, computers made to run Windows XP cannot run later Microsoft operating systems; this is especially true of low-price systems.  Therefore, the suggestion to upgrade to a free copy of Microsoft's latest OS is rather like suggesting putting a free truck diesel motor into a 1958 Volkswagen Beetle.  If one wishes to update a computer, the hardware of which is old enough that it was made for XP, with a new OS, the answer is Linux, not a more-recent version of Windows.  Otherwise, if one wishes to stay within the Microsoft orbit, a new computer is needed for that new OS, and probably new applications, as well.  Making the OS free cuts the expense only by a trifle.


If, however, the user does not use XP for Internet access, he can just continue to use it, and it will continue to perform just the same until his hardware fails.  End of support does not mean that the operating system will cease to function.

geoff.atkins
geoff.atkins

The OS is only one element of the upgrade path. I recently upgraded from WXP to W7 in order to ensure that my machine remained secure after the April update cut off for XP.  To ensure a satisfactory W7 performance I needed to upgrade my PC and I now find several software apps also need newer versions - more expense. Whilst free OS upgrades would be welcome they won't necessarily ensure people change.

aamrubel
aamrubel

Recently I was checking tab from dell .. for the same hardware android is $139 but for windows 8.1 it $312. U know Android is mature and stable OS for smartphone and tab, but windows not even near to that .. what on earth they want us to buy their OS .. do they think we are nuts? .. 

mbox2900
mbox2900

Microsoft has been asking its channel partners to make do with less, no, actually zero, margins and make it up in 'services' to customers (which we were already providing anyway).   Welcome to the club, Microsoft... what goes around, comes around.

ENetArch
ENetArch

Uhm, ya!!! Microsoft will give away their OS right after Apple does!  And, not a moment before.

allanrbowman
allanrbowman

New Machine, forced to go to W8.1.  Microsoft must be totally brain dead. The loss in productivity from trying to figure out how every Office program NOW functions must rank in the billions of dollars. And why? Because the MS geniuses felt like doing this utterly unnecessary 'overhaul'.  Happily though for most things (alas not all), Open OFFICE and OfficeLibre have UI's that are plain, simple, and do the job. I now leave MS Office for the odd obscure task where I need my macros, else, it's the open and usable without tearing my hair out, Open non-MS products I use.


For MS it's business as usual, piss everyone off for no particular good reason and don't listen to the mainstream customers.

gechurch
gechurch

Wow, what a stupid article! Suggesting that Microsoft should give their operating system away not because it makes any business sense, but because Google and Apple do. Genius!


Nevermind the fact that Apple and Google give their OS away to sell their hardware, and this doesn't apply to Microsoft. And nevermind the fact that 80% of the people the author wants to upgrade wouldn't actually do it anyway!


At least the article achieved it's real purpose. There's nothing quite as effective as the eternal Windows vs OS X debate to drive traffic to a site.

msmith102
msmith102

Yes, XP works.  And Vista, W7, W8 don't add any improved functionality to make it worth spending umpteen hours reinstalling everything and hoping all the tweaks I've made I can remember to redo in the newest Windows version. Most other products don't force you to buy a newer version just so the manufacturer can make more money.

jpdemers
jpdemers

Thanks to Apple's inexpensive upgrades, and Microsoft's expensive ones, it costs less over time to own a Mac, even allowing for the initial price premium.

MS can tout their "discount" upgrades, but getting from XP to Win8 still costs a bundle. 

Also, I'd love to know what fraction of Win8 users own it only because it's what came on their new machine, and what fraction voluntarily made the move from Win7.  I"d bet a hefty sum that it's at least a 5:1 ratio.

stan
stan

I have seen a couple of comments that elude to the fact that the Apple OS is on a device built and sold by Apple.  Giving the OS updates helps them to maintain their customer base.  I do not want Microsoft to be the sole provider of my hardware in order to get free updates. While not always perfect I will deal with the system we have now.  I am not a Microsoft Kool-Aid drinker by any means.  I greatly dislike some of the things that they have done, including termination of TechNet, but while I love Linux and OpenSource, there are indeed some things that Microsoft got right.  It is not easy to be everything to everyone.  I can not even conceive the challenges that an enterprise so large must face just to stay viable.  We must remember that we as consumers have always had choices.  More people chose the Micro$oft path and that is why we are where we are. We are all free to break free and go another path.  Yes, there is a cost attached to that change.  We either pay that cost, or the cost of staying where we are. Let's stop placing all of the blame on the big target and accept some responsibility for our own choices.

lkarnis
lkarnis

What does Apple do? First, their updates are cheap/free. Second, they work with the hardware you have now. Third, your applications continue to work. Fourth, if you do buy new Apple gear, you can seamlessly migrate your programs, data, settings to the new machine at no charge.

What does Microsoft do? First, their updates are $100+ retail. Second, they often don't work with the hardware you have now even when Microsoft says they do (remember Vista Ready?). Third, chances are most or all of your applications will break and need to be upgraded or replaced. Fourth, Microsoft makes it extremely painful to transfer settings, applications and data to a new machine. You have to be an expert to do it successfully - even with their migration tools.

Simply put, the pain and cost of migrating to a new Windows machine is so high, people just don't do it. Perhaps Microsoft should try to lower the amount of pain and cost involved in being a long term, loyal customer. It worked for Apple.


Just my $0.02

Jaqui
Jaqui

I'm a linux person, not a windows fan at all,

but those I know who have gotten new systems with windows 8 on them, went and bought windows 7 and installed that, to get rid of the win 8 user interface.

[ I had a chance to look at it, made me EXTREMELY glad I won't buy ANY hardware that comes with pre-loaded software, getting stuck with that kludge would be an automatic return to vendor ]


others have said it right though, Microsoft can't really afford to go free os, they don't have a poprietary hardware that it requires to fund the os.

They do need to cut their prices dramatically, maybe switch to the "rolling upgrade" many Linux distros use. [ just like those idjit phones, upgrade the os without cost or major effort on user ]

TRgscratch
TRgscratch

I'm sure it's been stated below, but if I sold the only hardware on which my o/s would run (iOS, MacOS, SunOS), I would give the o/s away for free, too.


does MS charge for the "o/s" of Xbox ?

Altotus
Altotus

Far from dead the Apple tax is so much much more than Microsoft.

greggwon
greggwon

@gri Apple charges the price they charge because you get 1 full year of product warranty for that price, plus the Apple Stores and other support infrastructure for the hardware is there.  Any PC hardware you buy, you are going to have to ship it back and forth or take it to a third party for service, who has no vested interest in your happiness as a customer of that product.


Apple has every interest in serving their customers as well as evolving their product.  They pay american employees for much of their services and software development.  So, they need to support all of that.  If you can't understand that cost, it's probably because you've had no service with your PC vendor or software systems.  Microsoft in particular has no consumer support channels that actually are effective and work.  You can call them, but most likely you will be greeted by someone in another country who is a contracted support company employee who will search the internet for the problem "phrase" that you give them, and then start reading back to you, the steps that someone else took to solve the problem.


Apple charges an appropriate price for the total package you receive.  I used UNIX extensively in college an was around when windows hit the scene for the first time.  I've seen the complete evolution of that company, and 7 years ago, decided that decades of the same applications having the same security risks and never being fixed, let alone the random injection of new UIs to make me more productive, but which actually never helped me do anything any better, was enough.  I had bought my wife a first generation MacBook Air so that I didn't have to support her frustrations with Windows Vista.   She loved it, and I enjoyed being able to open a terminal window and use UNIX the way it was intended when I needed to.


Windows users are just enamored with all the false claims so the platform.  They are snookered by cheap PC vendors who sell them complete junk by using 5200rpm drives to save power and provide terrible disk performance, or 2GB of RAM because that lowers the price by $100 so that they have the cheapest device on the market.


It's all nonsense.  If you go speck out a PC with the same level of performance as a Mac, the price difference will not be that great. 


If you can only buy the cheapest computer, then perhaps you haven't "saved" your beans to the level you should of to buy a quality device.  You get what you pay for, and Microsoft's worth is diminishing greatly in the marketplace, and all that they are doing is bad mouthing other devices (such as Google's) and lowering prices ($300 off of the "surface") now, and still customers are not "surfacing" to support their business model.


Ask anyone you know who uses windows if they really want to buy another windows device.  I'd bet that the greater population would respond that only about 25% actually want another PC, and those are users who have a specific app that only windows supports in perhaps 80% of that 25%.


It is over for Microsoft.  The fat lady is in the car, enroute to Washington state.  If you listen carefully you can hear her warming up...

greggwon
greggwon

@lallen2064 "PCs are seeing declining market share not due to their weakness as a viable platform, but instead due to the smart phone and tablet better fitting a computing need in a mobile environment."

My niece told me the other day...  My PC always have viruses and just doesn't work.  I don't have time to mess with it anymore.  I don't want another PC, ever.

Microsoft has failed to service their software systems with the security fixes that should of come 15 years ago.

Orlbuckeye76
Orlbuckeye76

So programmers that developed Windows 8/8.1 and will develop Windows 9 are working for free? Microsoft's business id changing from distributing on my machines and on DVD's to distributing on new machine,  through the store and electronic downloads. 

Microsoft releases new OS when the technology based on how technology changes. MS was running 32 bit OS's years after 64 bit was developed by AMD and even after Intel brought out 64 bit processors. When XP came out most mainstream hard drive were IDE which has evolved into the faster SATA technology. The monitor companies started dabbing into touchscreen even as far back as Windows 7.  We've gone through USB 2, USB 3, ESATA, Thunderbolt (Apple was the first to implement).  Hard drive sizes have increased and SSD are being used in Ultrabooks.  We've using surround new speakers and 1080P flat screen LCD technology.  Microsoft is evolved to the world around the computer business.

Apple decided to use thunderbolt technology awhile back but MS doesn't decide that HP, Sony, Dell, Lenova and the rest decide that for MS. MS just trys to make it work if the OEMS want to use it. It's a collaboration between MS and the hardware vendors no matter how big or small.

Poli Tecs
Poli Tecs

Saying its not a good OS then qualifying that as the no. 1 target for viruses is an oxymoron. They ARE the no. 1 target BECAUSE of the success of the OS!

MS OS has never been more stable with W8! XP, what shifted their paradigm, led to W7, a VERY solid and secure OS. Then the redesign of Explorer, cutting nearly 20% system overhead off at boot, brought the new UI of W8 and killed it!

Since final release of W8, I have YET to get application lock. Not a single BSOD even after upgrading to 8.1 and running legacy apps in compatibility mode has never been better and windows 2000 did this pretty good but not like this. Even my virtual XP for running old old legacy apps is seamless.

And the issue with your Linux, and I love Linux (as a toy to olay with) is that they are too fragmented with their UIs. One distro to the next and I have to learn the damn UI again. Not to mention, having a hardware compatibility issue and the end-user is screwed. For you and I, we can run some command, we are NOT the majority :-)

Last is the settings panel... The end user on Ubuntu's latest release would never find it.

jsargent
jsargent

@firstaborean  So you are saying that duo core processors with 2 gb memory WinXP cannot run with Windows8.1 ? While windows XP could run on a wide range of machines so does Win7, Win8 and Win8.1.

azvonko
azvonko

@firstaborean  While I agree with the first part of your comment, the second part I find as a very doubtful. The problem I see is virus protection, since viruses might enter the system not only via Internet but also trough an external devices (CD, DVD, USB sticks, Bluetooth, etc.). Therefore, such "unconnected" XP would still need some kind of regular updating of antivirus sw, and as I see so far, this is not easy to do without the Internet.

Orlbuckeye76
Orlbuckeye76

Android doesn't run on the same hardware as Windows 8.1.  Android runs on the Arm processor and Windows on Intel. Windows RT runs on the ARM.  Intel is working on Android compatibility. Users can't upgrade Android versions when they want.They have to wait until Samsung or whoever allows them to.  I remember talking to a Samsung rep and i told him this device has the newest version of Android and he said there's not any difference! Why release a new version if their is no version? There are differences.

Orlbuckeye76
Orlbuckeye76

Apple makes money on Hardware and content (apps and songs). I don't see Apple giving songs away for free.  They do give apps away but how could they ever charge for a Facebook app when you can go to the facebook in a browser for free.

jeffskent
jeffskent

@gechurch  An accusation that the writer simply wants to write articles that people want to read, and therefore he is selfish, so we don't have to pay attention to what he says.

Orlbuckeye76
Orlbuckeye76

Actually they have to pay the programmers to write the software. Also the HP,Dells, Toshiba's and Lenova's also get you to buy computers that have the graphics cards of ATI ad Nvidia, Sound cards like sounblaster or realtec.  Wireless cards like the new 802.11 AC that came out this year. 

I'm not sure of any business that wants you to only buy one version of their product.  I'm sure GM would rather you buy another GM rather then a Ford or Toyota yet they don't give it to you for free.

Microsoft is a software company if they give it away for free they will have to stoop the the tactics Oracle uses with it's free java where AVG pays Oracle to make it install AVG by default. Apple also is a hardware company and has a different model then MS.

jeffskent
jeffskent

@msmith102  Accusation of Microsoft as a selfish company simply wanting to sell its products and make money.

Orlbuckeye76
Orlbuckeye76

Not nearly as much as going to 1080p to Retina display. You can't do that without buying a new Apple.

Orlbuckeye76
Orlbuckeye76

The problem is Apple uses the same components on the same model of machine. Those components requires drivers and the drivers can be kept under control. MS is sold on Dell, HP, Toshiba, Samsung, Acer and mnay others.  The problems is there are hundreds of companies that make these components.  Micorsoft can follow the same process as Apple on the Surface since they make it and control components. If you have a  Windows laptop and try to update the graphic card drivers fro ATI or Nvidia you get a message saying they don't recommend you install the driveers and they encourage you go the the computer vendor since they modify the graphics drivers for their machices. THATS why their is a pain. When you buy a new pc the PC vendor tests all the drivers before they sell them.

I saw first hand of this when i was interested in purchasing an Alienware laptop. Alienware had the option of Windows 7 or Windows 8 far after Windows 8.1 came out. I tried to upgrade a friends AW laptop to 8.1 but it was blokced on Alienware's at the Windows store. Now recently AW fixed the problem ( I believe is was a problem with Nvidia drivers) and they sent out updates and are now selling laptops with 8.1.

jpdemers
jpdemers

@lkarnis Well, not quite true:  Older (PowerPC) Macs won't run OS-X, and since the demise of Rosetta,  OS-X won't run software written for the PowerPC processor.  Disconnects between new software and old hardware are inevitable.  In principle, disconnects between new hardware and old software can be cured with virtualization, but that's often too much effort for too small a market.

jpdemers
jpdemers

@AltotusNot after a couple of Windows upgrades.  Also, Macs hold their value much better: you can sell an old Mac on eBay for hundreds of dollars, while old PC's aren't even worth the cost of shipping them.  At the end of the day, unless you're buying generic no-name PCs at the outset, it's cheaper to own a Mac.

Orlbuckeye76
Orlbuckeye76

The statement he made was true about how viruses enter your system (through the internet).  Back pre internet viruses were most commonly passed through computer shared at places like junior colleges via floppy disks) . Today malware and spyware are the biggest threats and those most come from bas code on internet sites.  Malware is  only passed from the media you mentioned. CD and DVD's can only be affected if they have the viruses loaded on them and passed. The software companies make sure their media is malware free since their financial future is determined by that. But then again how many people install software now using CD's or DVD's?

Orlbuckeye76
Orlbuckeye76

Thats because older Macs used IBM processor and now Apple uses Intel. Instructions that talk to the processor are different between IBM and Intrel.