In terms of money, Microsoft is perhaps one of the most powerful companies in the United States and one of the largest companies worldwide. They have revenue that surpasses 60 billion British Pounds and total assets that are in the range of 150 billion British Pounds. They employ more than 120,000 people and own companies that were behemoths on their own. Just recently they acquired Nokia Mobile and Skype Technologies and continue to invest very wisely, for instance by purchasing Mojang, the owner of the perhaps most popular game nowadays, Minecraft. They most certainly do not need additional income, yet a move to give the latest and newest, most advanced PC and less advanced Tablet and Mobile Phone operating system away at no charge, it does seem suspicious indeed, since that obviously Microsoft is in it for the money.
The second big announcement and perhaps a clue why Microsoft is eager to give away their OS came to light during the presentation, namely it was said that even people who own, shall we say, less than legal copies of the operating systems Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8, will be allowed to update for free. Microsoft has not encouraged illicit copies of the OS since the early days of Windows 3.1, where OEM copies were handed over with virtually no copy protection software or anything to that matter. The result of such practices was that nowadays more than 90% of all private PC computers run on some version of the Windows operating system.
Now why are they giving it away for free? The answer is simple and complicated at the same time. Simple answer will be, to gain manipulative control over the majority of users. The complicated answer would have to explain the corporate policies that go way beyond simple manipulation tactics, such as forcing people to abandon old hardware and upgrade, make all old companion software obsolete, such as Office 2007 and older, but also old Adobe, Autodesk and similarly dominant software in their respective fields. Furthermore, all drivers for hardware not being “signed” by Microsoft will not work anymore, forcing manufacturers to pay Microsoft money to sanction their use.
The new interface brings back the beloved start button, but it also pushes towards glossy and picture heavy Windows 8 premise, forcing users to invest into more powerful graphic cards, virtually killing off anything people still had lying around, like some old S3 or whatnot. Nevertheless, the interesting thing is that the required specs in order to run the OS are surprisingly low. Required are a 1 GHz processor or SoC, 1 GB of RAM for a 32-bit system and 2 GB of RAM for a 64-bit, 16 GB for a 32-bit system and 20 GB for a 64-bit system space on a HD, a DirectX 9 or later graphics card with a WDDM 1.0 driver and a display minimum resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels.
As a final explanation why you do not have to shekel any money out for this latest incarnation of Windows is something called Windows Hello. It does away with the stuffy old password protection and requires biometric data to access your own pc. To clarify what this means, you will provide Microsoft with your retina scan, facial recognition data and a fingerprint for free. Without wanting to incite any advance concerns or conspiracy theories, this very much sounds like the perfect NSA spy on everybody scheme, provide free upgrades to virtually anybody and get free and unrestricted access to all interconnected devices, amassing a security sensitive personal data in such a volume, where 90% of all computer users give it away freely.
This is a huge security risk, not only if the NSA has nothing to do with this, but if all is legit, which is very unlikely. If any hacker gets access to this information, he can virtually own you. If the NSA gains access to your computer, which they can if they have your fingerprint, retina data or even just a picture of you from wherever, perhaps a visa application or from your Facebook page, without any help from Microsoft, they can enter your computer and turn your microphone and camera on, without notifying you about that state and use your device for tracking others, you, anybody they like. As a security conscious person, I would rather object to this feature, but since that it is integrated into the system, you will not be able to uninstall or disable it.
Imagine now that you do all your home banking from your computer, which most of us do. Now imagine that you use your computer for all your correspondence, which most of us do. This OS can go also into your Microsoft phone or your Surface tablet, which all can be interconnected easily. Now think about how all that access and gathered data can be misused by an organisation which does not even answer to its own Congress, president or any other authority outside its own walls, except the Senate, which gave them the power they wield. Do you still want that free Windows?