Is Microsoft planning a ‘bait and switch’ with the ‘free’ upgrade to Windows 10?

There’s a lot of uncertainty around exactly what Microsoft are offering for the ‘free’ upgrade to Windows 10 that’s going to start rolling out on July 29th. have a good collection of questions people are starting to ask about what is included in the upgrade offer.

An article in Forbes discussing some internal presentation slides that ComputerWorld obtained is suggesting that the ‘free’ upgrade may not turn out to be entirely free after all, as a cryptic statement from Microsoft states:

“Revenue allocated is deferred and recognized on a straight-line basis over the estimated period the software upgrades are expected to be provided by estimated device life…. [The estimated device life] can range from two to four years”

We can only speculate exactly what Microsoft means by this statement, but it implies the ‘free’ upgrade is only initially free, and thrn at some point during the lifetime of your installation, the cost will be recouped. Exactly how or on what timescale the cost is recouped is unclear, but this statement implies at some point you will be charged for your Windows 10 – possibly ransomware style (‘Pay $199 now to continue using Windows 10’), or maybe subscription style (a monthly subscription to keep the install active?) – at this point there’s not enough information to be able to say. But it does seem clear, we’re not getting Windows 10 for ‘free’.

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