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Windows 10 Free Upgrade for Personal Users; Microsoft January Event to Reveal Connection with Xbox Console

( [email protected] ) Dec 23, 2014 02:23 PM EST

Windows 10
Windows 10 is expected to be free for personal users and release next Fall. Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft's newest operating system for the PC, Windows 10, aims to reinvigurate the desktop market with an OS that more closely mimics the popular Windows 7 platform rather than the buggy, but more recent Windows 8.

But Windows 10 is much more than a revisit to familiar user interface design. It was developed to create an improved user experience between mobile and non-touchscreen displays, and provide the ability to run Windows apps right on the desktop or laptop computer.

Just about a year ago, in December of 2013, Microsoft had just begun teasing a project codenamed Threshold that would be bringing Windows PCs, mobile devices, and the Xbox gaming systems together more closely than ever. This news was the first step in paving the road for Windows 10, including word that the Start Menu would be returning after a brief vacation from Windows in version 8.

Even at this early stage, the rumors focused on a possible timeline of Spring 2015 for a new version of Windows. In January of 2014, the first rumors dropped that "Windows 9" would be coming in April of 2015, but the "9" number was replaced with "10" to give more of a feeling that the operating system would be moving that much further forward. That Windows 9 name was used throughout much of the year until the official reveal of the product -- and new name -- on September 30.

But it was during that San Francisco reveal in September that Microsoft recalculated the release window to be "Fall 2015."

Since then, we've had dozens of news tidbits surrounding Windows 10, including the inclusion of a digital personal assitant named Cortana that will also be on the Xbox console, a sneak peek at the new interface design, Mac-like trackpad gestures, and several versions of the Technical Preview that's making the rounds.

One major point that many eager Microsoft users are debating is whether or not Windows 10 will be free. After Microsoft dropped the ball by making Windows 8 so expensive to the average user, Apple gave their competition a shot in the arm by giving away its own operating system update for free. But now, Microsoft may have read the writing on the wall as the company is expected to offer Windows 10 for free for personal users. The catch is that they are expected to still offer enterprise users a paid version with further upgrades and features being for-pay. Unfortunately, none of that has been officially confirmed, and there's been no word on what types of services would be part of the pay system.

In addition to that bit of news, Microsoft's Windows 10 event on January 21 is expected to reveal some new information that should appeal to both Windows and Xbox users, according to a tweet from Xbox boss Phil Spencer.

Spencer has already teased information that would please gaming fans as he has previously said that the January event would "talk about gaming on Windows," but the main focus of the event will be on the Windows 10 consumer experience.

Whether or not we'll get a concrete release date and price structure during that January event is unknown, but Microsoft will also hold an event in April that is said to reveal even more information. We'll be sure to keep our eyes on both events and report any further developments.