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September 15, 2016

Your Windows Subscription is Due

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

The Windows 10 hype is long over. The annoying “Upgrade to Windows 10” campaign has died a merciful death. Now comes the future, which Microsoft has said involves frequent updates to Windows 10, but no new version numbers. That includes one scary prospect: A paid, subscription model for Windows.

When I first heard this rumor, I thought that it was the most colossally stupid idea ever.

Back in the old days, you paid for a new operating system. Windows 95 cost about $100. (It might have been $95, I forget.) Each new version of Windows was purchased or came with a new computer, which meant that you paid for it as part of the purchase price.

The Windows 10 upgrade was free, which kind of hinted that perhaps Microsoft would adopt the Apple model. Apple gives away its operating system updates free. I recall that they might have charged for the first few versions of OS X, but now anyone can download the free update, and Apple encourages Mac owners to do so.

But Windows 10?

Now that Microsoft has hooked a bunch of users to Windows 10 — specifically corporate users — I hear that their next big plan is to offer Windows 10 updates and security patches as part of a subscription plan.

The rumor specifically stated that the Enterprise Edition of Windows would require a subscription. That means all the medium- to large-size businesses would have to pay for their Windows upgrades. It would be annual fee, similar to the Office 365 subscription. Home and small business owners wouldn’t be affected, though I have my doubts.

For a while, I’ve been writing that the software subscription model is the future. Honestly, software updates are irrelevant these days. Software does a job and does it well. The improvements offered in a “new” version today would be considered minor updates in decades past. But the software companies need to keep selling product, so they devise new versions on a regular schedule. And when that doesn’t work, they charge a subscription.

An operating system is more crucial than productivity software. While you can still use Word 98 to write today, using Windows 98 would be foolish; that old operating system is probably riddled with security holes that would be easily exploited today. So motivation exists for an OS upgrade, especially at the corporate level where security is perhaps the top motivating factor.

Another important factor for corporate IT departments is training. Millions of workers know how to use Windows and Microsoft Office. If an IT department decided to rebel and switch to Linux and Openoffice, it would require a lot of retraining. Productivity would drop as users learned new ways to do things. That puts the pinch on those organizations to maintain consistency and a happy workforce.

Of course, this is all a rumor. Who knows what’s really planned? And IT people have rebelled successfully against Microsoft in the past, but this would mark the first time that the operating system was available only through a subscription mode.


  1. I used Win 98 after I should for the simple reason I couldn’t afford new hardware. I agree most software you get for a task, if it does the task you need you don’t upgrade (I used Office XP & Office 2003 why don’t I upgrade? I can open DocX so no need!) I can see things like Visio, Office (365 already), Visual Studio being subscription but Windows itself? I think 10’s release was oddity forced by 8 (or Win Hate as I have heard) There must have been so many XP & 7 boxes lying around they had to do something or get squashed by a fruit. Too bad it was download only as I like having the OS on a CD/DVD…

    Comment by glennp — September 15, 2016 @ 11:50 am

  2. You can create it on a CD or DVD, but more likely a thumb drive. Go to the Windows 7 Backup page in the Control Panel and create a System Recovery Image. It’s the same thing. (And I’ll probably blog about that task in the future . . .)

    Comment by admin — September 15, 2016 @ 3:09 pm

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