Free may be good when it comes to some things but until recently, I always thought free and OS were not synonymous with quality, unless you were talking about the poor variety.
I gave Apple some grief awhile back when it made its operating system, OS X Mavericks free to download and use. Most of my criticism was directed at how we, the consumers, became Apple’s primary software testers. I also spoke harshly with respect to the degrading quality of the system software releases that could be expected, given the fact it was free.
Now Microsoft has come up with a twist to the free OS game with the recent announcement that Windows 10 will be available for free to Windows 7 and 8 users provided they download it within a year’s time of it first being available to do so.
I am intrigued by this offer and will bite on both my ancient HP Compaq desktop smartly running Windows 8.1 and my not nearly as ancient Asus laptop with Windows 7 as long as both adequately meet hardware demands of Windows 10.
I think Microsoft’s free OS ploy is even better than Apple’s was back in the day.
Apple had a mature version of Mountain Lion and it is still available today for $19.99. In order to get a free OS from Apple you had to be sure your Mac had enough beef to handle the increased demands of Mavericks. Plus there were file sharing networking issues with Mavericks (that still exist today) that troubled users and prevented many Mac owners from taking the free upgrade plunge. Apple’s current OS X Yosemite is also plagued with networking and other bugs that while reported by various users to Apple, remain unresolved. Apple to date, has not done a terrific job of addressing reported bugs.
Microsoft has been relying on its beta testers for Windows 10 and so far results have been good. There has also been word that Microsoft won’t be naming the OS released subsequent to Windows 10, Windows 11 or some such other incrementally numbered name. Supposedly, 10 will be the last numbered version of Windows and it’ll just be improved with updates. If it works, and its features satisfy the majority of users, Microsoft would do best to just refine and improve Windows—you don’t need another commercial name or number marking new features.
Yes, we can thank Apple for applying the screws to Microsoft just enough so that it will be releasing Windows 10 for free. What happens after the first year is up is not clear at this time. Since the majority of enterprise users are Windows-centric, it’s possible that discounted versions of Windows 10 will be offered to those businesses still running Windows 7 and 8 after the 1-year deadline to upgrade to Microsoft’s latest and greatest for free has expired.
Apple gave away its operating system and never looked back. It has had quality issues that won’t go away though, ever since. Microsoft will quash bugs on its Windows 10 before, during and after its release. It will also possibly cease with catchy names for its OS, too, much to my and many users’ satisfaction.
On one hand you have the consumer juggernaut that is Apple and on the other, the dominant enterprise stakeholder that is Microsoft. They each rule their respective niches. Only this time, the battle over free and what it means in terms of quality, can be just the thing that the sleeping Redmond giant needs to restore some of its revenue-generating luster.
Who wouldn’t try Microsoft’s version of free, especially since its predecessors that cost money are running on the overwhelming majority of business machines around the world?