A report out of Indonesia claims that Andreas Diantoro, President of Microsoft Indonesia, has confirmed that Windows 8.1 customers will indeed get Windows 9 for free. We've heard some of this before, and it indicates that Microsoft is desperately wanting to get away from all the negativity surrounding Windows 8.
Diantoro indicated that Windows 8.1 users will be able to download and install Windows 9 quite easily. Previous reports specified that this would be accomplished using a tool that allows single-click installations. This tool will become a native part of Windows 9, providing faster updates that will make the Windows platform feel more smartphone-like.
For customers riding on the Windows 7 train, though, Microsoft may charge $30 for the upgrade. This nugget of news arrives by way of Russian leaker WZor, who indicates that customers will not need to re-install the whole OS. This seems very likely given that Microsoft offered a huge discount to Windows 7 users upgrading to Windows 8.
Microsoft is expected to reveal Windows 9 during a press event on Tuesday. The company is also expected to release a public preview so that Microsoft can get feedback before the platform hits store shelves in Spring 2015. Given that we're getting close to Halloween, the Windows 9 release seems like it's just around the corner.
So why is Microsoft making the update so cheap? As previously stated, Microsoft presumably wants to get away from Windows 8. The release of Windows 8.1 made a huge difference for the desktop user, but Windows 9 is expected to really shine. Benefits will include the return of the Start Menu, Modern UI apps running on the desktop and more.
On Tuesday, Microsoft is expected to not only reveal Windows 9, but a new branding that will eliminate the numbering. The move is part of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's "mobile first, cloud first" plan to offer services on hardware rather than become a hardware and services company, as former CEO Steve Ballmer previously envisioned. The platform is expected to be called merely "Windows" across a number of form factors, including desktops and smartphones.
"Microsoft is changing from a company that was Windows-centric to one that is services-centric," Michael Silver of Gartner told Reuters. "It has to be that way. Windows revenue is likely going to decline, and Microsoft's task is to replace that Windows revenue with revenue from services on all sorts of platforms."