Microsoft's major announcement regarding Windows 10 availability included a very important statement – it will “upgrade all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10”. This means Microsoft will be providing genuine Windows 10 software to everyone running Windows 7 or 8.1 regardless it is a pirated version.
As expected, the statement triggered a lot of buzz. According to reports, the move will help Microsoft tackle piracy, especially in China where a large number of users are running pirated version. However, CNET confirms Microsoft will be rolling out the upgrade to such genuine and non genuine Windows all markets including China. This is definitely a brave and perhaps ambitious attempt from Microsoft to tackle piracy as well as expand its user base around the world.
It's notable upgrade to Windows 10 will "not change the genuine state of the license," that means non-genuine copies of the operating system will remain to be non-genuine. Polygon quotes a Microsoft spokesperson as saying:
"The consumer free upgrade offer for Windows 10 applies to qualified new and existing devices running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. Some editions are excluded from the consumer free upgrade — including Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, and Windows RT/RT 8.1. Active Software Assurance customers in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to other Windows 10 enterprise offerings.
"We have always been committed to ensuring that customers have the best Windows experience possible. With Windows 10, although non-Genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the license. Non-Genuine Windows is not published by Microsoft. It is not properly licensed, or supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner. If a device was considered non-genuine or mislicensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mislicensed after the upgrade. According to industry experts, use of pirated software, including Non-Genuine Windows, results in a higher risk of malware, fraud (identity theft, credit card theft, etc), public exposure of your personal information, and a higher risk for poor performance or feature malfunctions."
The development follows Microsoft's mega announcement that Windows 10 will be launched in summer this year and in 111 countries. Windows 10 will be rolled out as a free upgrade to devices running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 for the first year after it is released.
Yesterday's announcement also revealed Xiaomi as Microsoft's testing partner wherein a select group of Mi 4 users will be invited to test Windows 10. Lenovo, another Microsoft partner, will be launching Windows 10 based phones later this year.
Windows 10, an important product for Microsoft, brings in a slew of new features and improvements over its predecessor Windows 8. The new software will include storage compression feature that will help Windows 10 to consumer less storage on your primary drive.
(Story updated with inputs from Polygon)