Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s head of operating systems, made official various elements that have dribbled out in recent months after the company said it was planning a summer launch for the next version of its flagship OS. Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for most machines running versions 7 or 8.1 (enterprise versions aren’t included), while Windows Phone owners will have to wait longer. Anyone considering the upgrade should make sure their PC can handle running the new software smoothly. Testing and reviews will provide the best answer, though Microsoft’s initial specifications signal that any PC cable of running Windows 7 or 8.1 should be able to make the leap.
The OS will ship with the digital personal assistant Cortana, a new Web browser called Edge and, perhaps most importantly, the beloved Start menu that had been eliminated in version 8.1. Windows 10 will also include free antimalware protection and continuing security updates. Yes, it will have “Candy Crush Saga.” No, it won’t ship with an explanation of what happened to the skipped-over Windows 9. (Here’s an FAQ with more info.)
Myerson’s blog post does double duty of hammering home the size of the Windows user base – in the billions — with the Microsoft’s vision of software that can work across all of its devices, including videogame systems, virtual-reality headgear, PCs and mobile devices.
“We designed Windows 10 to create a new generation of Windows for the 1.5 billion people using Windows today in 190 countries around the world. With Windows 10, we start delivering on our vision of more personal computing, defined by trust in how we protect and respect your personal information, mobility of the experience across your devices, and natural interactions with your Windows devices, including speech, touch, ink, and holograms. We designed Windows 10 to run our broadest device family ever, including Windows PCs, Windows tablets, Windows phones, Windows for the Internet of Things, Microsoft Surface Hub, Xbox One and Microsoft HoloLens—all working together to empower you to do great things.”
What he doesn’t get into is the price for those not eligible for the free upgrade. ZD Net said the searches on Newegg.com showed OEM prices for the home edition at about $110, with a pro edition of around $150.
Many people end up getting their OS as part of purchasing a new PC anyway. That’s a key question right there: A new OS traditionally has given the PC industry a sales bump. Windows 8 didn’t really do the job, as too many people shunned the tile interface that worked better on mobile devices. The free upgrade to Windows 10 could hamper any potential sales bump, too.