Windows 10 will be free to "non-genuine" systems, which could mean millions more copies of Windows 10 being distributed by Microsoft this summer.
Windows 10 will be made available this summer for those with pirated copies of Windows 7, or Windows 8.1 as well. The move is one that has been met with some confusion, as well as uncertainty regarding what all of this will actually entail when it comes to execution. Initially, Microsoft’s Windows chief executive Terry Myerson said in an interview, “We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10,” which started the craze around pirated copies of Windows.
Microsoft stood behind those comments, but ultimately verified it with a lengthier, and significantly more confusing statement on the future of Windows 10 for those with pirated copies of Windows. The statement read in part, “If a device was considered non-genuine or mislicensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mislicensed after the upgrade.” Which begs questions about what that might mean overall?
Whether Microsoft makes users upgrade with an official license key after a period of time, or whether they will give them a copy of the operating system – but will paint them with the “non-genuine” label isn’t entirely clear. What is clear though is that this significantly changes the way people receive the update to Windows 10.
Until now, the major success in the eyes of many users was the fact that they would be giving a copy of the update to anyone who had a qualifying Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 PC, and now, given the fact that to some degree – Microsoft is going to start dealing with the growing problem of pirated software – really speaks volumes to how much impact those individuals had on shaping what the operating system has become today.
Many have believed – for some time now – that software companies like Microsoft should move away from the pay-for-software model that forces users to pay for a license key, when many downloads are even done now without a disc. This ruling will be something that undoubtedly goes under the microscope until Microsoft clarifies further what they mean, or don’t mean by their new permission to pirated Windows users. If Microsoft though, does force users to buy an officially licensed copy of Windows – in exchange for giving up their pirated version – they will likely face greater resistance from those who consider upgrading through official means.