When Microsoft announced that Windows 10 will be free, two questions arose, firstly for how long, and more importantly, ‘why?’, of which has now been answered by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, in an interview earlier this week with ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley.
The move is not a bid to compete with Apple, nor is it intended to encourage people away from previous versions of the Operating Software, although this is a likely consequence (as previously speculated). In fact, it is meant to boost the profile of Windows Phone.
A substantial part of the decision to move towards Windows 10 was the drive to a uniform, cross-platform experience for users. Using Windows 10 on a phone or computer should therefore feel familiar, and phones, as it turns out, are key to the pricing decision.
Creating an ecosystem in which universal apps can exist was central to the push of not only Windows 10 for desktops and laptops, but also for phones. Nadella told Foley:
“The free upgrade for Windows 10 is meant to improve our phone position.
“If somebody wants to know whether I’m committed to Windows Phone, they should think about what I just did with the free upgrade to Windows. […] If you come to Windows, you are going to be on the phone, too. Even if you want to come to Windows because of HoloLens, you want to come to it because of Xbox, you want to come to the desktop, all those get you to the phone.”
Whether this give Windows Phone enough momentum to gain popularity is something that remains to be seen, but Microsoft has said quite plainly that it has no plans to get out of the smartphone business.
Microsoft is looking to merge the mobile and the desktop, of which Windows 10 is at the heart of, and Nadella is pinning a good deal of hope on the idea that it will help to reinvigorate Windows on phones.
However, the free upgrade is only for a limited time, being available for one year after its release on 29th July 2015. Following this initial year it is still unclear whether users will be forced on to a subscription package, after all the firm has on multiple occasions said that it views Windows long term as a subscription service, not a buy once platform as it has been up to now.