Windows 10 Pricing Chaos, Upgrade Explained: Microsoft Roundup - InformationWeek

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Windows 10 Pricing Chaos, Upgrade Explained: Microsoft Roundup

Microsoft this week released the full suite of Office for Android, updated the Surface Pro 3, and confused the Internet with its Windows 10 pricing strategy.

Windows 10 vs. Mac OS X 10.11: OS Showdown
Windows 10 vs. Mac OS X 10.11: OS Showdown
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

With the launch date for Windows 10 growing closer each day, it was fitting for Microsoft to start its week with news surrounding the new OS. This time, the update affected Windows Insiders and their eligibility to receive Windows 10 for free.

In a blog post dated June 19, Microsoft originally explained the way that Microsoft Account holders running the Insider preview would be able to receive the final build of Windows 10 and remain activated on the new OS.

Windows Insiders could infer from the post that they could get Windows 10 for free, even if they didn't have a licensed version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. This news, which could have been perceived as a gift to those who have tested the system and provided feedback, seemed too good to be true. It was.

Microsoft soon revised its post to delete all mention of the word "activated." Officials also emphasized the requirement of running genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 in order to get Windows 10 for free. Their muddled messaging ultimately led to mass confusion among the tech community.

[Windows 10 Upgrade: 8 FAQs, Explained]

This week, we finally got some clarification. Microsoft updated its blog once more to explain how Windows Insiders who stay with the program can continue to receive preview builds for new OS features, regardless of the version of Windows they were running. However, this will always be prerelease software.

If you're a Windows Insider running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 and qualify for the free upgrade, you have the option of exiting the Insider program and upgrading to the full version of Windows 10 as it is released on launch day.

July 29 marks the release of Windows 10, but it also signifies the launch of Sway for Windows 10. Microsoft also announced the availability of Sway for iPad in preview mode.

In other Windows 10 news, we learned this week that Microsoft will turn its focus to Windows 10 Mobile in July. Microsoft Devices communications director Greg Sullivan reported to PCWorld that the desktop version is currently absorbing most resources, but "a lot more attention" will go towards Windows 10 Mobile starting in early to mid-July. The launch date for the mobile OS is still unclear.

We've gotten a sneak peek of devices Microsoft is building to accommodate Windows 10, but it looks like existing devices are also getting an upgrade. The Surface Pro 3, Surface 3, and Microsoft Band are receiving updated software, as cited in a Neowin report.

The end of support for Windows Server 2003, which was running on 12 million servers as of one year ago, is looming closer. If your business is one of many affected enterprises, we created a guide explaining the changes this will cause and potential migration paths you can take.

(Image: Microsoft)

(Image: Microsoft)

Android devices got a Microsoft upgrade this week when the Office suite launched in full on Android smartphones. This news marks the end of a five-week preview period and comes a few months after Microsoft released Office for Android tablets back in January.

In security news, we recently learned Samsung was caught disabling automatic security updates for its Windows PCs. The company claims this isn't as bad as it sounds, but many are skeptical.

Microsoft researcher Patrick Barker uncovered a program called Disable_Windowsupdate.exe in Samsung's software update tool. This disables Windows Update from automatically launching, and consequently puts users at risk for security problems.

Among the many changes at Microsoft is a new mission statement, written in a companywide email to employees and published on GeekWire. The official statement: To "empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more." If that sounds familiar, it's because Nadella said those exact words during his keynote at the 2015 Ignite conference.

So maybe the new mission statement isn't breaking news, but there's no doubt Nadella is proving effective in leading Microsoft through a period of transformational change. He recently earned the top spot among highest-earning new CEOs, according to a Wall Street Journal study. With 2014 earnings of $84.3 million, Nadella is the second-highest paid CEO overall.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Apprentice
6/27/2015 | 3:03:08 PM
Free Windows 10 offer
A few days ago, I saw a new icon on my task bar, inviting me to get free Windows 10. I have a Sony all-in-one PC, bought in 2011 (ergo, not too old) with Windows 7. I went through the motions only to get a message that my computer doesn't qualify because of the incompatibility of my NVIDIA graphics card with Windows 10. It's hard to believe that one of the best, relatively new cards on the market would be excluded from Microsoft's new operating system. I haven't encountered any mentions of this exclusion anywhere in the writeups covering Windows 10. Why is Microsoft misleading the media and its users about the "free" installation of this software when it knows full well that there are limitations to its use? 
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