Monday, July 20, 2015

Windows 10 Signifies Microsoft’s Shift in Strategy

By NICK WINGFIELD, NYT
JULY 19, 2015

SEATTLE — Next week, when Microsoft releases Windows 10, the latest version of the company’s operating system, the software will offer a mix of the familiar and new to the people who run earlier versions of it on more than 1.5 billion computers and other devices.

There will be a virtual assistant in the software that keeps track of users’ schedules, and Microsoft will regularly trickle out updates with new features to its users over the Internet. And the Start menu, a fixture of Windows for decades, will make a formal reappearance.

But one of the biggest changes is the price. Microsoft will not charge customers to upgrade Windows on computers, a shift that shows how power dynamics in the tech industry have changed.

The decision to make free a product that once cost $50 to $100 is a sign of how charging consumers for software is going the way of the flip phone. Companies like Google have crept into Microsoft’s business with free software and services subsidized by its huge advertising business, while Apple in recent years has made upgrades to its applications and operating systems free, earning its money instead from hardware sales.

(More here.)

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