back to article Microsoft tells big biz: No free Windows 10 for you, crack wallets open

Microsoft has confirmed that, unlike your average Alice and Bob, enterprises won't get a free upgrade to Windows 10 when the new operating system is finally released. "Customers running Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8/8.1 Pro, like small businesses, have an opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10 for free in the first year," said Jim …

  1. joed

    True definition of "locked in"

    Now, pay through the nose and don't expect support past when we feel file (even if you kept paying EAS dues). MS will try to keep consumers/employees hooked up (promising freebies) while business will pay the price (not these have not been themselves to blame).

    We'll see who blinked first.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: True definition of "locked in"

      Notice Windows 7 Ultimate owners are not mentioned.

      I've played with Windows 10 and its crap. To get to the Control Panel is arduous compared to Windows 7.

      I suspect at my place of employment, the Ubuntu proponents may actually win.

      1. L05ER

        Re: True definition of "locked in"

        actually...

        it's on the "system bar" or whatever on the right side. i hated to admit it, but it's quicker and easier.

      2. Geoffrey W

        Re: True definition of "locked in"

        Define "Arduous".

        What, you have to climb a mountain, wrestle an alligator, and kiss Linus Torvalds on the mouth, before you can get the control panel to appear? And even then its positioned 1000 pixels off the bottom of the screen and defaults to a language only used by one old woman somewhere in Tibet 500 years ago? And I bet it uses invisible ink and pokes you in the eye with a snotty finger too.

      3. Sampler

        Re: True definition of "locked in"

        Right click start, left click control panel - arduous indeed

        Though Win10 is crap, new Start Menu is still annoying and not as good as the old Win7 and other than that it's pretty much the same as 8 so saying they named it 10 as it's such a giant leap from 8 is bullshit.

        Though ctrl+v now works in cmd, that's a bonus (though, that could be in 8, I never tried).

        1. Chris Miller

          @Sampler

          No, Ctrl-v doesn't work in cmd under Win8.

          1. Steve Foster
            Boffin

            Re: @Sampler

            Ctrl+V can be configured to work in CMD, and that has been the case since at least XP. In the Properties for your command prompt, set "QuickEdit Mode".

            1. Spoonsinger

              Re: "QuickEdit Mode"

              Umm - well on Win7 anyway in quick "QuickEdit Mode" you can highlight and right mouse click to copy, then right mouse click to paste what you just highlighted. (Ctrl+C, Crtl+V just gives ^C & ^V respectively). Was it better in XP? (like some sort of weird deprecated feature - like a usable file explorer?).

        2. joed

          Re: True definition of "locked in"

          ctrl+v - just one of the ways MS gets you. Two steps forward and one back, technically it's a progress (though not without loses). Similarly in Windows 8 the Pause/Resume file copy was one of these useful things over Windows 7 (please don't bring up the task manager - nice but hardly of much value). Though completely overshadowed by other GUI "tweaks".

        3. Hans 1

          Re: True definition of "locked in"

          >Though ctrl+v now works in cmd, that's a bonus (though, that could be in 8, I never tried).

          Christ, can you select text properly, iow per line ? Because if you cannot, it's the incorrect solution ... what was wrong with Ctrl+insert/Shift+insert ? Yes, it took a while getting used to it ... and ... every time I had not touched it in a while I would get confused ... text selection is much more important, I think.

          Have they fixed tab completion ? TAB completion deletes everything after the TAB ... annoying ... TAB completion iterates over all potential candidates, not useful when you have 600+ files with a prefix ... how hard can it be to stop where multiple candidates are available ... like on *nix.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: True definition of "locked in"

        I certainly haven't found anything definitive. My one Windows 7 Ultimate machine is the one that has me wondering as it overlaps between personal and business (such as it is) uses. Sounds like Microsoft hasn't put any thought in that direction, or just tossed it into "too-hard" for now. I can't see upgrading it anyway as I expect the movement to W10 for business will drag for a long time despite Microsoft getting out and pushing. Hard.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: True definition of "locked in"

        Getting to control panel is arduous? What are you smoking. It's obvious from your comment that you've never actually used Window 10. Right click on the "start" button and boom there you are. Two clicks - How much less arduous do you really need it?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: True definition of "locked in"

      "Microsoft has confirmed that, unlike your average Alice and Bob, enterprises won't get a free upgrade to Windows 10 when the new operating system is finally released"

      Our Microsoft account manager says that all Enteprises with an ELA will get a free upgrade under the terms of the 'Software Assurance' that they already pay for...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not surprising. MS and Apple both have sung similar tunes back in the day. Give it out free/cheep to schools or developers and let the deep pockets pay.

    I just hope that consumers can choose not to roll out "features" if they want. I don't need multiple browsers, etc that all have security vulnerabilities. How about being able to load and remove *any* system feature? There's a novel idea on a windows platform. I don't care if it breaks compatibility with certain MS technologies. I'm 90% sure I don't want them anyways.

  3. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Not unexpected

    A lot of s/w in the Free Software arena is only free for non-commercial use only. So i'd havve been more surprised had they given it away to all.

    Despite the occassional looney pundit proclaiming Microsoft to now be an 'Open Source Company' (yeah, right! must have been a good lunch) the only source open is .net and that only happened because they've conceded the OSS development model is superior across many disciplines and they were afraid of losing developer mindshare.

    By making it cheap/free to OEMs they guarentee devices shipped with their new baby installed by default. Since only the retail version is free to individuals, the oems will also benefit, keeping them sweet.

    By giving it away to individuals they guarentee those user will not go looking for some other free alternative. Same for smal businesses.

    Nothin really to gain and a lot to lose by giving it away to Enterprise. Most would struggle to make the change inside the 1 year window in any case.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not unexpected

      Look at GPL software.

      Try Ubuntu. They have an easy to find software list for any application you can think of.

      Also look through wikipedia ' s list of Open Software. Most of what's there is free to use, commercially or otherwise.

      http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_free_and_open-source_software_packages

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not unexpected

        "Try Ubuntu. They have an easy to find software list for any application you can think of."

        It still doesn't have a version of Office that actually works. Or most good games. Plus Windows 8.1 is faster where it matters - for Open GL graphics and large file loads, etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not unexpected

          LibreOffice.

          It'll work with all of M$ proprietary standards as well as natively utilise open standards documents.

          Free to use as a user.

          Free to use commercially.

          Free of M$ lock-in.

          Free of cloud badgering & "value add" upgrade pop ups.

          And your free to read, edit and discuss the source code.

          Give it a go, won't cost you anything other than the time spent using it.

    2. Vic

      Re: Not unexpected

      A lot of s/w in the Free Software arena is only free for non-commercial use only

      Whilt that might be true for free software, it is most assuredly not true for Free Software. That's pretty much the definition...

      Vic.

  4. Scoular

    So "conditions may apply"

    Now we get down to Win Home versions only and non commercial users of other versions seem to be excluded. Not quite what the original announcement was assumed to mean by the fans.

    The cynics will accept apologies guys. We are not surprised to find a clawback going on.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: So "conditions may apply"

      "Now we get down to Win Home versions only"

      I suggest you re-read the article. It was pretty clear that Pro editions are included in the offer, so that's the vast majority of small business users covered.

  5. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Uh, sounds like fun?

    "We're trying to figure out how consumers get a one-size-fits-all OS and features as fast as possible at a quality bar that businesses wouldn't tolerate."

    I'm I the only one that is made a bit nervous by this statement? Well, not for me but for those poor Windows users. The concept is sound, and in fact in the early Windows NT days (if I recall correctly) there was the option of installing "update only" updates or installing the updates that added features.

    But the way it's phrased -- I expect my updates to always be at a "business" quality bar, and to not have my updates install dodgy new software. Ubuntu doesn't disappoint (at least for LTS releases) -- the updates are stable, and the updates don't decide to tack on some dodgy software. Of course, with 10,000s of packages, I'm sure a few of the not-officially-supported available packages are real buggy, but they aren't automatically installed by an update.

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    BYOD

    for those monkeys that cant be retrained to browse the web on linux - sorted

  7. Mystic Megabyte
    FAIL

    Long Term Servicing

    LTS, where have I seen that before? Since changing to a Linux only enterprise I am amazed at Microsoft's insistence at still producing several versions of their OS.

    If they want a new generation of developers then they should give them the tools. Instead of Windows being a racehorse they promote a hobbled donkey.

  8. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Sounds like a winner to me

    Is seems that the plan is that a Home use version will be free - probably without extensive networking/active directory support/RAID etc, and the full version with all the bells and whistles will cost money. That's quite smart as it should build a user base of folks who are familiar with the operating system and who will then purchase Office365 services etc. And the features that cause the most problems and require the most support will be paid for by the people who use them.

    Thus businesses get to hire people who can use computers, Microsoft has a recurring income stream from the cloud and they can retire the copy protection/registration side of the business - that will save a lot of money and problems too. It also neatly solves the problem of all those pirated copies of XP/Vista/Win 7 - this seems that Software as a Service is going to be a winner after all.

    1. Mikel

      Re: Sounds like a winner to me

      >Thus businesses get to hire people who can use computers,

      There is quite a whole world of computer using that ain't got any Microsoft in it. And for 30 years I've enjoyed watching folks like you try to pretend it doesn't exist. Now your difficulty is much higher: even Microsoft is making their software for non-Windows platforms like iOS and Android, building their cloud for Linux, and so on.

      Android moved a billion phones last year. It runs computers. IOS, OS X, Linux, Android... They run the world now. Windows is a dim and tiny corner of the computer using realm. And getting less every year. What little of it there is is fragmented across four mutually incompatible major versions, so it doesn't even have the power of numbers it might have.

      After Windows 10 increases the number of mutually incompatible versions by one we will all have a good laugh. By the time they can try again, we may have forgotten how much influence Microsoft used to have in technology.

  9. Paul 76

    Well, I think it's obvious who will pay, we are. Microsoft want a rerun of Office 365. So the 'free' version will be limited in many ways, and the full one will be subscription.

    MS want a subscription model because there are plenty of people quite happy with 2000,XP,Vista,7,8 as it is and they get no money from it (mostly it costs them money). So get everyone (as far as possible) onto 10 by making it 'free' then manipulate people into paying for it.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Well, I think it's obvious who will pay, we are. Microsoft want a rerun of Office 365. So the 'free' version will be limited in many ways, and the full one will be subscription."

      Yes. Out of curiosity I installed MS Excell for android on my tablet. Not having or needing an MS "account" for any good reason, Excel was unusable. It absolutely refuses to even do a local save unless you are signed in. I assume that means it's also unusable if you are located anywhere without a network connection of some sort. I'll stick with WDS (Kingsoft) Office on my phone and tablet for now.

      There is a definite movement by MS to software/OS as a service by subscription model, even if the "subscription" is, initially at least, just the user needing an MS account.

  10. Fuzz

    Who uses enterprise?

    Pretty sure most companies buy computers that come with the latest OEM Windows Pro license then use downgrade rights and imaging rights to stick whatever version on they are currently supporting. Windows 7 needed enterprise to do bitlocker but that is built in to Pro now. Most people aren't going to care about the extra features in enterprise.

    1. HipposRule

      Re: Who uses enterprise?

      I think v large enterprise - we run 5000 odd devices using the OEM licence for Pro.

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    'So Microsoft's strategy seems to be pushing out new features to consumers as soon as they are tested. Enterprises can then wait and see what borks what, then add in features as they like once stability has been proven.

    ...

    "We're trying to figure out how consumers get a one-size-fits-all OS and features as fast as possible at a quality bar that businesses wouldn't tolerate. Business wants to get features when they are ready for them, and will pay for it."'

    What does "they" refer to in the last sentence, businesses or features?

    All this reads to me as if consumers are, in fact, the testers and only once a feature has had enough releases to stabilize it will it be offered to the paying customers. Or am I reading it wrong?

  12. Mikel

    It just doesn't matter

    Three years from now Microsoft may have gotten 300 million people to try Windows 10 and will doubtless be deprecating it for whatever they call Windows 11. It will have its challenges and triumphs, its controversies and surprises. Microsoft will declare victory after a week and again periodically thereafter. It will generate Microsoft a lot of money.

    In that three years one billion iOS devices and 7 billion Android devices will have been sold. Together more than one for every living human. All people everywhere will be abundantly aware they don't need Windows, and will be delighted and amazed, enabled and empowered by the myriad devices that just work together without fiddling, without antivirus, without ActiveX, DirectX and Active Directory, without BHOs, GPOs, registry tweaks, activation servers, Microsoft online accounts, IE and Bing, without waiting breathlessly for Microsoft to decide whether they get the next version free or not. Together, but not the same. And the 2.5 billion devices that have already been sold that don't use their ware will mostly still be working too, like the 2013 Nexus 7 I am writing this on.

    The era when Microsoft owned the technology industry is long over.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It just doesn't matter

      Willing to bet they won't come back when they realize that some things just call for a keyboard, a mouse, and a mature software ecosystem, unless you're saying people will be doing things like typing letters, printing the odd paper, touching up photos, editing home movies, doing taxes and budgets, etc. all from their smart devices?

      1. Mikel

        Re: It just doesn't matter

        iOS and Android devices already do all those things. They have for years. My Android devices support wireless remote displays through Chromecast or Miricast, Bluetooth mouse and keyboard (I prefer the Model M which is USB only). Also wired HDMI, USB inspection cameras, GPIO devices and more. It can be the brain of a drone or satellite, a FullHD video recorder or editor, and remote desktop to any sort of desktop or server device I like.

        What do you mean by "come back"? Most of these people will have never been to Windows-land in the first place.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: It just doesn't matter

          You can't remote desktop without a desktop, and the software selection in Windows is still much superior to any other platform in certain markets such as games.

          1. Mikel

            Re: It just doesn't matter

            @Charles 9

            >You can't remote desktop without a desktop, and the software selection in Windows is still much superior to any other platform in certain markets such as games.

            I don't think this is going to matter to the billions of people who have never seen a desktop or video game. Or at least not seen one as advanced as you can get on the cheapest Android tablet. In much of the world they are dealing with late 90's hardware and XP at best. Apps and performance, display and responsiveness are not as good as you can get on a $25 Android tablet. India alone is going to give away one billion of these tablets to students in the next ten years. Probably sooner.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: It just doesn't matter

              But there's still the matter of Internet access. Trust me, I've been to parts of Asia other than Japan and South Korea. MMO gaming is still a hot topic to the point that Internet cafes are still hotspots and MMO game posters are still plastered all over the place. Many of them are as old as the PCs they run, so age is not necessarily an issue, but since most of them were made for keyboard & mouse use...

  13. TheMole

    QA or what ?

    From the company that brought you Vista and Windows 8 :

    "We're trying to figure out how consumers get a one-size-fits-all OS and features as fast as possible at a quality bar that businesses wouldn't tolerate. Business wants to get features when they are ready for them.."

    am I right in reading this as saying that unlike businesses, consumers will put up with poorly conceived, badly implemented buggy crap, as long as it is free and looks flash ?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: QA or what ?

      >"We're trying to figure out how ..."

      The laugh is that the simple solution was the one MS walked away from in the 90's, namely have one release stream for 'Home' and one for 'Business'. One would of thought that MS would now have a more mature software production environment than they had in the 90's and hence can handle having effectively two versions of Windows for end users.

    2. Jess

      Re: am I right in reading this..

      Yes, I think so.

      The only thing new is them actually saying it.

  14. Kev99

    Win 8 & Win 10 vsWin 7

    I had the misfortune of needing to add a system variable to a Win 8 machine. I had previously made the same addition on a Win 7 box. The Win 7 box was a matter of a right click, a couple left clicks, and bang I was done. On the Win 8 machine it took me 15 minutes to just find the screen I needed to add the variable. If Win 10 is as "intuitive and easy to use" as Win 8, then help us all as our productivity will go thru the floor. Enterprises will need to spend beaucoup monies training just their IT staff let alone their line workers how to use Win 10. As I've said before, I couldn't get Win 10 Tech Preview off my computer fast enough when I tested build 9256 (or whatever the number was).

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: Win 8 & Win 10 vsWin 7

      That's so weird.

      I pressed the search key, typed 'vari' and it offered System variables and Env variables.

      I reckon maybe 10 seconds, tops.

      The problem is that you want to locate things by knowing where everything is - that went out with the Ark.

      Why poke about through the start menu? I use it on WIn7 solely to use recent programs and search.

      Search works well with Win7 too (also search, 'vari'), not as cool as Win8 though since apps are used in Win8 search - I like the Amazon app being used instead of the web page for a result for instance, not to mention the full page results so you know what is worth looking at.

      1. BitDr

        Re: Win 8 & Win 10 vsWin 7

        "The problem is that you want to locate things by knowing where everything is - that went out with the Ark."

        So the problem is people like to be organized? Imagine if every time you went to work your had to search for everything because nothing was where you left it. Doesn't that sound like fun?

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Win 8 & Win 10 vsWin 7

        Search on Windows isn't perfect, it relies on stuff being correctly labelled, which with SysAdmin stuff I've regularly found to not be the case...

        A recent example has slipped my memory, where searching a simple MS Windows utility by it's well known menu name, resulted in nothing...

        Plus always using search is plain daft, because you never learn where things are and the relationship between them. So always using search everytime you go into the kitchen to make a coffee, results in you not knowing where the kettle is, how to use the water tap (and use the cold tap), where the cups are, where the coffee is kept (open and unopened containers) and that milk lives in the fridge.

        When you have children, you will rapidly learn the value of getting them to learn where things are kept and finding them themselves...

  15. Medixstiff

    There has to be a catch somewhere.

    I've worked for heaps of corporate customers and they all use Win7 Pro, not Enterprise. So unless M$ has fine print about Win7 Pro for business larger than X PC's not getting free Win10 upgrades, I don't see this bringing in too many $'s to M$.

    1. Jess

      Re: There has to be a catch somewhere.

      My guess is that the free upgrade will be to a home version. (i.e no domain support). Not that business users will be ineligible, just that it will be of no use to them, so they have to pay.

      1. jb72

        Re: There has to be a catch somewhere.

        The MS Windows blog is quite clear that W7Pro and 8.1Pro are both eligible for the free upgrade - stating that and only allowing an upgrade to a 'home' version would be odd.

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