I think that’s the idea there Joe, Microsoft is saying that Windows 10 will be free for the “supported lifetime of the device.” The idea being that it sounds as though your free upgrade will remain free over the lifetime of the device you’re installing it on, but that’s not true, it’s not free for the lifetime of the device it’s free for the “supported” lifetime of the device. Microsoft has not publicly acknowledged what they mean by this, but some leaked documents indicate that the “supported lifetime” is actually 2-4 years, two years for Windows 10 Home and four years for Windows 10 Pro.
This means that free Windows 10 support will actually end before Windows 7 and Windows8/8.1 support does. Free Windows 10 support will end in 2017 for Home users and 2019 for Pro users while Windows 7 support isn’t scheduled to be cut off until 2020.
Of course there’s no mention on what Microsoft plans to do when that free support ends. When Windows 7 and Windows 8 support ends that’s it, there’s no more support you just have to upgrade to a new version of Windows, but Windows 10 is different. Microsoft is calling Windows 10 the “last version of Windows.” That’s because they’re no longer going to be making any major Windows releases, with Windows 10 you’ll never install a fresh new OS, instead everything is upgrade based. Different parts of the OS get upgraded periodically. Once free support for Windows 10 ends you’ll need to start paying for those updates, including security updates, one way or another and Microsoft is keeping their mouth shut on that subject.
For now no one, outside of Microsoft, knows how Microsoft plans to monetize Windows when free support ends. Leaked documents indicate that Windows revenue is being deferred for three years, meaning that due to the free release/support Windows will be generating little to no revenue for three years, after that Microsoft expects Windows to start turning a major profit again. What happens in three years? How are they going to start monetizing Windows if there are no new major releases to purchase?
You’re going to pay for it one way or another, the question is how? It’s not really free, my guess is that it’s a trap. However Microsoft plans to start monetizing Windows is so disconcerting that they have to trick people into it by luring them into this new deal by pretending to offer them a free upgrade that locks you in and once you’re in the deal changes. Bait and switch.
P.S. Of course they can do this because they have such a massive slice of the OS market share. Once you upgrade to Windows 10 and the deal changes what are you gonna do? A large part of their audience can’t afford to switch to Mac and the vast majority of them have no idea Linux even exists nor do they have the technical know how to install it. Not too mention Microsoft’s UEFI has gone to great lengths to make things harder for Linux.
P.P.S. Personally I’ve switched to Linux and am quite happy with it so far. I’m keeping Windows 7 installed, for now, and will not be upgrading it to Windows 10. If I still have it when support ends then I’ll probably give my system a good full format and install just GNU/Linux. My girlfriend has a Windows 8.1 tablet that I will not be upgrading to Windows 10, instead I’m going to see about getting GNU/Linux on it. It has a 32-bit UEFI coupled with a 64-bit processor which, as I understand it, complicates things a bit when it comes to installing Linux, but I think I can make it work.
Perhaps my mistake can serve so that others can learn from it. If you’re planning to buy a new computer or tablet I recommend you make sure it has either a 64-bit UEFI or BIOS setup, 32-bit UEFI complicates things in terms of options apparently.