Microsoft is giving pirates an easy way to go legit with their pirated copies of Windows, as the march to push the new Windows 10 version of the software continues.
As you may know, Microsoft has decreed that until July of next year, Windows 10 upgrades are free for those running “genuine,” or legit, copies of Windows 7 or 8/8.1.
It’s a big change for Microsoft, which is hoping that once you’re on Windows 10, you’ll drop a hefty chunk of change on apps like Office 365 or Skype.
“One of the more interesting learnings from the upgrade is the creative efforts which non-Genuine customers have gone to, to initiate the upgrade process on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 — and then how many have purchased Genuine Windows 10 activation through the Windows 10 store,” writes Windows boss Terry Myerson in a blog entry.
In other words, Microsoft is finding two interesting things here: First, that those with pirated versions of Windows 7 and 8 are finding ways to upgrade anyway. And second, that some of them are then dropping the $US119 to turn it into a “genuine” copy.
To make that easier, non-genuine Windows users in the United States are going to get a “a one-click opportunity to get Genuine via the Windows Store or by entering an activation code purchased elsewhere,” Myerson writes.
“Genuine,” in this case, means that Microsoft got paid: Versions of Windows that come with a PC are genuine, as are those that you install from a disc, USB drive, or download from Microsoft directly. “Non-genuine” is Microsoft’s nice way of saying “pirated.”
Genuine Windows users get free updates and patches from Microsoft. Non-genuine Windows users are left on their own. Given that Microsoft is promising tons of updates delivered to Windows 10 constantly over the next several years, it’s a potential reason for pirates to consider an upgrade.
If it works, Microsoft will keep this experiment going in more markets.
“We’d like to welcome as many of these customers as possible to the legitimate Windows ecosystem,” Myerson writes.