Windows 9 Should Be Completely Free, Analyst Believes

This could be the only way for Microsoft to keep up with competition

By on January 13th, 2014 12:49 GMT

Windows 9 is expected to launch in April 2015, according to some people close to the matter, but aside from a few features that could be included in the operating system, no other details have been provided until now.

Pricing clearly remains one of the biggest dilemmas, not only for users, but also for the Redmond-based tech giant Microsoft, as the company needs to find the perfect mix that would lead to record sales of its operating system and skyrocketing adoption for the very first days of availability.

Just like ZDNet writes in a debate over the fair price for Windows 9, a freeware license could be the winning choice for Microsoft, especially after the disappointing performance of Windows 8.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Brad Reback also suggested that offering Windows for free might be Microsoft’s only option to keep up with competition, including Google and Apple.

Offering Windows 9 free of charge to manufacturers would basically lead to many more devices running the platform on the market, while also cutting down their prices, and thus boost the overall adoption in both the PC and the tablet sectors.

“Today, when looking at the aggregate OS market (phone/tablet/PC), Microsoft is the only vendor that explicitly charges for the OS software. We believe this could prove untenable in coming years, forcing Microsoft to give away the OS and attempt to monetize Windows usage/support via various methods depending on the end-customer. We believe this is the single biggest challenge Microsoft's new CEO will face in coming years,” Reback was quoted as saying.

“Over the medium to longer term, we believe Microsoft will be forced to follow Apple and Google and give away the OS, especially in the consumer market, and use services like Bing, Skype, Office 365, etc. as its primary monetization engine. That said, we expect Enterprises to continue to pay for support via various enterprise agreements.”

Microsoft is already trying to tackle the pricing issue with Windows 8.1 by offering several discounts to manufacturers, as the adoption of its modern operating system has been deemed very low since the debut of Windows 8.

Windows 9 could really be a game changer for Microsoft, but there’s no doubt that the Redmond-based tech giant needs to carefully consider all its options. It remains to be seen if Microsoft makes the right choice.

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