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Microsoft gives away Windows 10 to hold onto consumers

Microsoft is reaching out to consumers with the announcement that it will give away its upcoming Windows 10 operating system as a free upgrade.

Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade to current users of Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 7 during its first year of availability.

Speaking at an event held at Microsoft's Redmond, Washington, headquarters, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Operating Systems group says "today is a monumental day for Windows.” 

The free giveaway is seen as a way for the software giant to retain customers in today’s mobile era, by putting the Windows operating system in as many devices as possible. Microsoft has previously always charged for new versions of the operating system. 

“Windows 10 is the first step to an era of more personal computing,” Myerson says. “This vision framed our work on Windows 10, where we are moving Windows from its heritage of enabling a single device – the PC – to a world that is more mobile.”

Microsoft says the free upgrade 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 additional charge.” 

Microsoft says it will “deliver new features when they’re ready, not waiting for the next major release.”

Microsoft is marketing the new Windows as a ‘as-a-service’ option. “We think of Windows as a Service – in fact, one could reasonably think of Windows in the next couple of years as one of the largest Internet services on the planet,” Myerson says.

“With universal Windows apps that work across the entire device family, developers can build one app that targets the broadest range of devices – including the PC, tablet, phone, Xbox, the Internet of Things, and more,” he says.

“Everything about Windows 10 – the experiences, delivering it as a service and the free upgrade – means ongoing value to all our customers.”

Microsoft says Windows 10 will forge a new relationship between itself and its customers – consumers, developers and enterprises.  “Today was an important next chapter of our Windows 10 story, but there is much more to come, “ Myerson adds.