In a surprise move, Microsoft at Build 2014 announced that it will offer Windows, including Windows Phone, for free to any computing device that has a screen size of less than 9 inches.
In a surprise move, Microsoft at Build 2014 announced that it will offer Windows, including Windows Phone, for free to any computing device that has a screen size of less than 9 inches. This is a big change in the strategy for Microsoft, a company that pioneered the use of licensed software.
Terry Myerson, Head, Operating Systems Division, Microsoft, said that Windows will be free for Internet of Things devices, the small gadgets that will have ability to connect to the web and process information.
The Microsoft announcement also highlights that the operating system business has changed significantly in the last few years. The core Android code is free to use. Also, all Android updates are free for users. iOS, which is used only Apple devices, also offers free updates.
But the catch is that Windows is not free for end users. The small screen devices — phones and tablets — come with the OS preinstalled. The OS is free for Microsoft's hardware partners. Consumers will not be able to obtain or download Windows for free and install on their computer.
Microsoft hopes to negate the advantage of Android and iOS by giving away the Windows for free, especially for devices like phones and tablets that are still seeing big growth in the market.