The era of free Windows 10 comes to an end on July 30th

True to its word, Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade offer ends on July 29th, the company writes in a blog entry. Starting July 30th
, you’ll need to pay $119 for Windows 10 Home, or get it free on a new PC.
When Windows 10 officially launched on July 29th, 2015, Microsoft made the new operating system a free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8 for its first year in a play to attract as many new customers as possible.

“The free upgrade offer to Windows 10 was a first for Microsoft, helping people upgrade faster than ever before. And time is running out,” writes Microsoft in that blog entry.

It seems to be working: Microsoft also announced today that there are 300 million active devices — mainly PCs, but also some tablets and smartphones — running Windows 10. Microsoft’s overall mission is to have one billion active devices on Windows 10 by the end of 2017, the same as the number of active Apple iOS devices out there.

Microsoft has made clear that it sees Windows 10 as a funnel towards premium subscription services like Office 365 and Xbox Live, and making the operating system free was an important way to build that potential customer base. In fact, reports have swirled that some people’s PCs have upgraded them without their permission.

Because that drive for subscription revenue is so important to CEO Satya Nadella’s Microsoft, it had been theorised that the company might extend the free Windows 10 offer well past the one-year anniversary of the operating system. Alas, it was not to be.

And with Windows 10 going to a paid upgrade model, it will be better for Microsoft’s declining Windows revenue, but it’s also probably going to slow down the rate of growth in Windows 10, especially with people buying fewer PCs than ever before.

Still, July 30th is still a ways away. So if you’ve been on the fence about Windows 10, and you’ve been ignoring the company’s nagging pleas to upgrade, it might be now or never.

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