Windows 10 is slated to launch this summer, and I can’t help but think how big a chance this is for Microsoft to draw in new followers.
If it plays its cards right, the company can also win over pirates and attract more gamers into the fold. Here are three mistakes Microsoft should avoid when announcing Windows 10:
Releasing multiple editions
There are seven editions of Windows 10 for folks to choose from, and they only serve to confuse users. If Microsoft really wants to offer packages with different features at various price points, why not make those available as paid upgrades within the OS?
Maintaining a single core version, and a single price point, makes it a lot easier for people to opt in to Windows 10 — especially if they’re migrating from another OS. Power users can always choose to pay extra for additional functionality if they need it, and Microsoft can deliver that over the air, hassle-free.
The company has already announced that it will offer multiple versions, but hey, there’s still time before going to market to right this wrong.
Back-tracking on its promise to offer free upgrades to pirates
In a blog post last Friday, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Operating Systems Terry Myerson wrote, “With Windows 10, we would like all of our customers to move forward with us together.”
The statement also saw the company walk back the suggestion that it would offer free upgrades to users running pirated copies of Windows 7 and 8.
One of the main reasons Windows is pirated is because of its high sticker price, which ends up eating into custom PC builders’ budgets — version 8.1 costs over $170 in India, for example.
Microsoft has a chance to start with a clean slate and reduce the number of pirated copies of Windows floating around, thereby minimizing user issues and security concerns. It can then focus its efforts on generating revenue from Windows-based apps and services.
If Myerson is to be taken seriously, the company should swallow what little losses it might incur by chucking its plans to charge users of pirated copies of Windows. Most of these users aren’t exactly fans of paying for software anyway, and will figure out a workaround if the only legal option is expensive.
Not talking enough about Windows as a gaming platform
Microsoft says Windows 10 will be be tightly integrated with Xbox One – but it really should talk up gaming on Windows itself.
Windows supports more games than any other desktop or mobile OS out there, as well as a wide range of peripherals for input (like joysticks and controllers) and aftermarket graphics processors. And you don’t need a console to enjoy them. Neither OS X nor Linux can boast that.
Windows 10 could be a great OS and an amazing opportunity for Microsoft to sell its other products with — but in order to achieve success with this release, it needs to get with the times and first focus on getting its platform on as many devices as possible, and simplifying that process for its users.