The Windows 8 version had adverts that required an annual subscription to get rid of as well. Admittedly it was £5.99 per year so seems to have gone up but other than that this is nothing new.
It clearly shows the direction that Microsoft intends to take with Windows. They have already said that they want to turn their products into services rather than shrink-wrapped packages that you can buy in a store or order from Amazon. Expect Windows to only be supplied to OEMs to be sold pre-installed (as now) and to be non-transferable from one system to another. The days of end-users being able to buy full versions of Microsoft's products and transfer them from one machine to another will soon be over.
Leaving aside the corporate sector, Microsoft get most of their Windows revenue from systems integrators (OEMs), and this revenue is shrinking as the market for desktop and laptop PCs shrink, and the licence fees that OEMs are willing to pay Microsoft shrink as hardware prices tumble. Microsoft now have a version of Windows that can be installed on everything from mobile phones to full-blown workstations, and Windows needs to be made available to OEMs at a very low cost (less than a dollar) and perhaps even FOC so than it can compete with iOS, Android, Linux and anything else than comes to market.
So, how to monetise Windows? Well, just provide a stripped-down operating system free of charge (or very, very cheaply) and make all the bells and whistles in-store purchases, and in-store on Microsoft's servers and no one else's. The likes of Amazon won't get a look-in. Amazon won't even be able to sell Windows (or any other Microsoft product).
The bells and whistles will include games (obviously), office products (they already have Office 365), and perhaps an enhanced version of their new (and stripped-down) web browser. Other 'services' will follow, such as the ability to make files and peripherals shareable between machines. Yes, expect to have to pay for file and printer sharing as an optional extra. If users moan, just toggle a database record on the update servers and, hay presto, file and printer sharing is free again.
Making a product such as Office 365 into an in-store purchase is easy, since it only requires changes to the update servers, not the actual software. This is pretty much the case with Office anyway. Products such as Visio and Microsoft Project will go the same way (if they haven't already done so), and you will not be able to buy them as a stand-alone products that you can transfer free of charge from one machine to another.
As for corporates, software is already licensed on a per user basis anyway. IT staff (or end-users) will simply un-box new systems (PCs, smart phones, whatever) with Windows pre-installed, type in the appropriate licence key, and the licensed add-ons (Office, Project, etc) will automatically be installed. If the corporate licenses more products (sorry, services) for their employees, they will be rolled out automatically by the update servers, not the IT staff. Also, if license keys are stolen by employees, the corporate customer will bear the cost, not Microsoft. In fact, we can all become corporate customers and license any Microsoft product to be automatically installed on any Windows device that we buy.
So there we have it. A stripped down version of Windows (and no other Microsoft product) sold with each new piece of hardware and everything else an in-store purchase from Microsoft. Office, games (expect Microsoft to get back into the games sector) and maybe an enhanced web-browser that can run a full-blown version of Office or any other Microsoft product. This may in fact be the purpose of Edge, something that will replace Windows as far as the end-user is concerned.
It's not the age... it's the mileage.
Edited by micksharpe (Sun 02-Aug-15 10:18:47)