Windows 10 will come as a free update for customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 phone. Besides running on PC, the new operating system will become standard on Microsoft's proprietary smartphones and Surface Tablets. Microsoft tweeted that Windows 10 will indeed be launched on July 29.
Prior to that release date, Windows 7 and 8.1 users will receive a prompt to register for a free copy. After Windows 10 is out, the customer has one year to upgrade before the free offer expires.
Bear in mind that not all editions of Windows 7 and 8.1 will get the free Windows 10 upgrade. Inexplicably, the Enterprise Edition has been left out of the offer. Also, Windows XP and Vista users do not qualify for receiving the new software.
Will Microsoft Add a Subscription Cost After the First Year
One popular web rumor suggests that Microsoft has plans to impose a subscription cost one year after Windows 10 is out.
This belief is unfounded, according to the latest report by Forbes. Customers who upgrade to Windows 10 within one year will get not have to pay a dime afterwards. The publication also noted that consumers may have been confused by Microsoft's poor choice of wording.
"This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device - at no cost," Terry Myerson, Microsoft's Executive Vice President of Operating Systems, wrote for the company's blog.
In short, Microsoft promises to support Windows 10 for life provided that the users updates within one year.
Is Microsoft Really Pardoning the Pirates?
In an effort to curb piracy in China, Microsoft is apparently calling for a truce. According to Reuters, users with non-genuine copies of the software will get free Windows 10 upgrades as long as they register with Microsoft. This deal is also available for pirates in other parts of the world.
Some observers, however, believe that this offer sounds too good to be true. The Verge warns would-be pirates that Microsoft may find ways to coerce them to pay up. For instance, the purportedly free Windows 10 copy may actually turn out to be trial software.
At worst, Microsoft may fall back on its favorite trick of turning the screen black as a not-so-subtle warning to infringers. Another strategy involves denying complimentary updates, but not critical security updates.
Ultimately, Microsoft will regard any unauthorized Windows 7 and 8.x version as illegal software - even after the pirate registers for a new Windows 10 copy. Hence, Microsoft's so-called forgiveness policy has limits.