Windows 10 Cost

How much will Windows 10 cost this time next year?

Millions of consumers have updated their desktop computers, laptops, and tablets to Windows 10. Microsoft is offering a "free" upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users for a year and people are taking them up on that offer in droves. I wonder how many of those eager people have considered what Microsoft will ask us to pay for the privilege of using Windows 10 after the year is up?

No free lunch!

Microsoft is a for-profit company, and giving away a billion pieces of software (the company's goal is one billion devices) is not going to sit well with the shareholders. At some point users will be asked to pay a subscription fee for Windows 10. We all know this, even if we haven't thought about it until now.

How much?

I have no knowledge of what Microsoft plans to charge for Windows 10 but I can make some educated guesses.

Free with charges for additional features:

In this scenario, users get the base operating system at no charge but there's a subscription fee for other features like cloud storage or email etc. This seems like a logistics nightmare for Microsoft so I think this is the least likely possibility.

Free with subscription to Office 365:

This would be an interesting plan for Microsoft. One billion devices all running Office 365 all operating in the Microsoft ecosystem—that would be a fantastic turn of events for the company. This subscription scenario is very possible and may be a likely approach for enterprises but not all consumers are interested in a productivity suite so it won't work for everyone.

Monthly subscription for all devices:

Microsoft could keep things simple by requiring a small monthly fee for all devices. That would make a nice revenue stream for Microsoft but many households have several computing devices and consumers might balk at the extra cost.

Monthly subscription for multiple devices:

This seems like a more realistic approach to me. Each household would pay a single subscription fee for up to five devices. The fee could be similar to what Microsoft charges for Office 365.

I think that the actual pricing structure will be some combination of these. I can see Microsoft wanting to be flexible about pricing while at the same time establishing a predictable revenue stream. It will be interesting to see what they eventually come up with.

Your thoughts?

Would you be willing to pay for the right to use Windows 10? Let us know your thoughts in the discussion thread below.

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