Microsoft has a goal of bringing Windows 10 on 1 billion devices by 2017, and there's no doubt that the number one priority right now in Redmond is to upgrade as many Windows 7 users as possible.
But one of the biggest challenges is to convince those running a non-genuine copy of Windows 7 to purchase a Windows 10 license and go legal, so Microsoft is still looking into ways to make the transition more appealing.
Offering Windows 10 free of charge to pirates would be the best way to convince them to upgrade, but for the moment, Microsoft's not willing to do that. Instead, an easy way for Windows 7 users to purchase Windows 10 will be offered as part of an experiment in the United States, which could then be expanded to the whole world.
Until now, no matter if you were running genuine or non-genuine Windows 7, you were offered the upgrade to Windows 10. If your copy of Windows 7 was legitimate and you decided to upgrade, Windows 10 automatically activated once installed. Otherwise, you received a trial version that prompted you to activate at every system reboot.
Terry Myerson, head of the Windows team at Microsoft, says that “many” of those who were running non-genuine Windows 7 and upgraded actually liked Windows 10 so much that they decided to purchase it from the store. While no figures have been provided, it's also no secret that a number of upgraders also turned to less legal activation methods, which are already all over the web and allow them to continue running the OS without paying for a license.
“We’ll offer a one-click opportunity to get Genuine via the Windows Store or by entering an activation code purchased elsewhere. If this turns into a path for most customers to get Genuine, we will expand the experiment. We’d like to welcome as many of these customers as possible to the legitimate Windows ecosystem.”
It's a well-known fact that Microsoft tried not only to ban users from running pirated versions of Windows but also to find those who illegally distributed counterfeited copies of the operating system, in an attempt to protect its property and convince everyone to buy the software.
But with Windows 10, Microsoft adopted a friendlier approach as far as pirates are concerned, which is actually expected to be much more effective when it comes to the number of users who might purchase a genuine license.
Myerson said earlier this year, before the debut of the OS, that pirates might actually get Windows 10 free of charge, but the statement was then changed to state that only those running a genuine version of Windows 7 or 8.1 would get the offer. And yet, it's very clear that hunting down pirates is no longer a plan at Microsoft, and bringing them on the right path is the new priority.
For those wondering, pirates who want to go legal need to spend $119.99 (€90) for the Home version of Windows 10 and $199.99 (€150) for the Pro.