Microsoft to Introduce a Subscription Based Windows? – A New BIG Clue


calendarFor some time now speculation has been rife that Microsoft will eventually make its operating system available via a subscription based model, not unlike that of Office. It is now being reported that Microsoft recently registered the name “Windows 365”, a huge clue that the company may indeed be heading in that direction.

Common sense has always dictated that this move was inevitable, the huge cost of maintaining support for a diversity of operating systems can only be curtailed by getting as many users as possible onto a single platform, and a subscription based model is the most effective method to help achieve that goal.

Before anyone starts to panic, it’s pretty safe to assume that, as well as an enhanced subscription package, the Windows distribution model will still offer the traditional option to purchase outright, pretty much the same sort of Office choices that became available with the introduction of Office 365.

I believe a subscription based operating system would be a boon for corporate environments, tax write-offs, plus eliminating the expense of upgrades while always running the latest operating system being just two attractions. However, home users may see it a little differently.


For me personally, and I suspect for many, it all comes down to the bottom line. Fellow tech writer Greg Schultz published an interesting article toward the end of last year discussing a possible pricing structure. Greg’s speculations are based on a comparison between the current price of Office Pro and Office 365, not an unreasonable premise:

Let’s start by using the price of Office 2013 Professional vs. the price of Office 365 Personal as a base. We’ll use Office 2013 Professional, since it comes with the same set of applications as Office 365. Office 2013 Professional currently costs $399.99 and Office 365 Personal goes for $69.99. If we take a percentage, we find that $69.99 is roughly 17.5% of $399.99.

Let’s now take the price of Windows 8.1 Pro ($199.99) and suppose that’s what the price of Windows 10 would be. If we use the percentage we found for Office 365 Personal and apply it to Windows 10 (17.5% of $199) we can guess that a Windows 10 rental would go for $34.99 per year. <source>

dollar-signs1Greg goes on to explain that, based on the same equation, a Windows family pack involving 5 licenses would cost around $49.99 per year. If those numbers are anywhere near the mark, I reckon that would represent a pretty good deal.

At this stage, no-one knows for sure of course, and this is all pure speculation. However, I’m pretty certain Microsoft’s goal of getting users onto the same platform will see them motivated toward keeping pricing as low as possible. The amount of money the company will save by not having to maintain support for multiple Windows editions will well and truly offset any discounts.

One tech writer has suggested that the annual subscription may be around $100.00, but I seriously doubt that would be the case. I believe Greg’s earlier assumptions to be much nearer the mark. I guess it will depend largely on just what additional features, options, and/or enhancements might be available with the subscription package. In the end, only time will tell.


Would the introduction of a subscription based Windows operating system be a good thing? I believe it would, choices are always a good thing. A traditional purchase will still suit many but a subscription package will also have appeal for many users, and multiple device users, including families, may well be better off financially with a reasonably priced multi-license package.

What do you think?

 

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

12 Comments

  1. My concern is; what happens when you purchase a new comnputer? Historically, windows is included in the price of the computer, and will we be forced to commit to a subscription based OS, Maybe 3 months free then forced to pay, either a monthly subscription, or purchase outright @ $100 or so. For instance, how many times does one upgrade the OS on a computer in the life of the machine? Most machines are designed for the OS that ships with them, and the newer OS will not be properly suited for an olde rmachine, so having an “upgrade” available in a few years, may mean nothing to many of us, and we will continue t pay monthly for an OS that is outdated? This looks like a money grab that will end up costing consumers more over time.

  2. It Windows 10 is a subscription, I will stay with Windows8.1 which I modified to behave more like Windows XP while I learn how to use Linux.

    • If your machine can handle it install a Linux Distro in a virtual machine. A lot easier to delete a VM than recoup from a dual boot with windows. If you decide do a post in the Linux Forum. I would encourage anyone using Windows to learn a little about what Linux has to offer. I use Linux every day. Daniel.

  3. i knew there was something nefarious about offering free copies of win 10. now it makes sense. i’m with ralph. what WOULD happen if you bought a computer that ran on win 10. would you be charged per year or would you have to buy the os as well! or would it just be figured into the price of the unit and make it more expensive. it’s sad that corporate america is doing nothing but figuring out how to get as much money out of people as they can.

  4. I wonder how are poorer consumers and even countries are going to cope with paying again and again?
    For myself though, if I have a subscription and then get an update to the OS that is like Windows 8’s forced new idealogy, but in a later version of course, i’m not going to be happy having to learn new things that worked differently the day before.
    The other thing is are ongoing subscription updates going to indefinately support all current hardware? If not, that is a massive deal breaker for me, I have some expensive equipment.

  5. If they move to subscription based Windows only, I will finally make the switch to Linux.
    I want to buy a computer and outright own the copy of Windows on it and not have to worry about being sucked dry every year just to use it. I want to buy it once and be done with it until the next time I buy a new computer.

    And I also work in IT. Last thing I need is more complexity in managing licenses and having to figure out how much its going to cost on a yearly basis. We buy our computers with OEM and that works out the best.
    Force me to have to keep track of licenses, expiration dates, and when to pay for the new year, forget it. I’ll sell the board on slowly moving to Linux for our users.

    • I am no IT Tech but I do know the two machines I have in my household will never see a subscription based Windows installed.

      • There is practically zero chance of MS moving to a subscription based Windows only and nobody has suggested they will.

        If MS does end up releasing a subscription based Windows, I am almost certain the company will retain the option to purchase outright – as well as, not instead of.

        • You probably are right Jim, and only time will tell. No need in getting all out of shape on things one can’t control.

  6. Microsoft are just ripping everyone off, the Product Key can only be activated so many times then you have to buy a new one if you are like me who can’t talk or use a telephone due to my disability. I was wondering how long it would take them to charge a yearly licence; I will stick with 8.1 64bit thank you.

  7. I think the current workings with Windows is…..
    When you purchase it you get 3-5 years of updates followed by another 3-5 years of patches. So you get a 6-10 year usable life span.

    What I would like to see is……….
    After that 6-10 year cycle, you get the option of continuing the patches at a fee of say $10 per year per computer or $15 per year per household. Bussinesses with more than 5 units would pay like $5 each. This would not impact the customer as much as a new OS every 6-10 years as well as letting MS make money for maintaining the systems. Perhaps the cost could even go as low as $1 per year per unit depending on how popular that would be.

    Just a thought………….Alan

  8. I think if this is the case, I wonder what happens if an old computer is booted up after sitting for a while? Are people going to be locked out of their own computer if they stop subscribing? Do some features no longer work? Can one still access their local files if they stop subscribing? Do home computers essentially become rental services?