Re: Subscription model?
Just to make sure people know my position so they can get their whinges out of the way first, I'm almost completely Microsoft free on my own systems. But that does not mean I do not have to consider Windows, as my wife and children all have Windows systems that I do not use, but which I am expected to help with (and pay for, in the case of my wife). I'm also playing devil's-advocate, because I am completely speculating here, and am hopefully completely wrong.
I still see nothing that conflicts with there being a subscription model license in the pipeline. Take the statement that Windows chief Terry Myerson made in February (lifted from here)
"we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no additional charge"
Notice what it says and does not say. It says no additional charge, not no charge. And also note the supported lifetime of the device.
So, you've got a subscription model license for, say, £60 per year. You're going to get updates and upgrades without paying another penny. But you are still paying the £60 per year. His statement is correct, but leaves sufficient wiggle room for a subscription model.
It also does not rule out there being a one-time-purchase option, either.
Let's look at it another way. Let's suggest you roll up to PC World next time you want to get a new PC. On offer are two Windows options for a particular PC. One is a subscription model, initially free for 6 months, and then £60 per year, and the other is a £300 up front purchase (equivalent to 5 years of subscription) for a non-transferable license (not transferable to another system, or another owner) for the lifetime of the system on top of the price of the hardware. Hmm. Interesting choice.
I can see many, many people opting for the subscription model merely so they can get the system home with the minimum outlay. It's the same reasoning behind the £40+ monthly contract to get the latest shiny phone.
I chose 5 years in this example, because it would probably be expected that devices will not last more 5 years and still be usable. If they were wanting to seriously skew it in favour of the subscription, it could be made more than that. Of course, you would then have the question of how much a device can change and still be the same, although the expected movement to more integrated systems with fewer upgrade options could easily close that off.
I think there are some very carefully worded statements coming from Microsoft. As I say, I hope this doesn't happen.
Mind you, if you take the subscription model machine, dump Windows completely and do not follow up on the subscription, then we (the Linux community) will finally have got rid of the Windows Tax, and maybe MS will have lost the lever that stops Linux being installed by the system builder.