Will Windows 10 prompt a surge of PC upgrades in 2015?

Windows 10
The verdict’s in. Everybody agrees — even Microsoft — that Windows 8 is a flop. Not since Vista have we seen Windows fall so so far out of grace. But this back-and-forth of Windows falling out of favor and then crawling back into the computing public’s good graces again is far from new. Users have had a love-hate relationship with Windows all the way back to Windows 2.1/386 in 1988. Failures have always been redeemed by triumphs like Windows 3.0, or more recently, Windows 7, and all is right with the world. Until Redmond falters again.

Windows 8 was such a dud that some are claiming it’s responsible for the recent historic plummet in personal computer sales (which started the same year of Win 8’s release). That said, judging by the feedback so far, it looks as though Microsoft’s partners (such as Intel, PC makers, and so on), as well as its customers and a fair amount of pundits, believe Windows 10 will put the operating system back in the spotlight and initiate a surge in PC sales.

What does Microsoft have to say?

As usual, Redmond has little to say about things. After all, here we are smack in the middle of the holiday buying season; it’s not a good time to be touting the benefits of next year’s OS, especially when most of your business partners are out there trying to hawk this year’s Windows 8.1 PCs. It’s also not a good time to discuss free OS upgrades or any other pricing incentives the company might be thinking about offering next year.

To that point—hyping any aspect of next year’s Windows—Microsoft’s executive vice president to the Operating System group (OSG), Terry Myerson said in a blog post, “Early in 2015 we’ll introduce the consumer chapter and talk much more about other device types and more consumer features.”

Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of Operating System at Microsoft
Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of Operating System at Microsoft

But that’s not all the company has said. As to Windows being free across the board, Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s COO, said recently, “We’ve not had any conversations [about] Windows 10 being a loss leader for us.” (A “loss leader” is a pricing strategy where a product is sold at a price below market cost, or at a loss, to stimulate sales of other more profitable goods or services.)

Microsoft hasn’t released any specifics about pricing. However, Turner added “we’ve got to monetize it [Windows] differently. There are additional opportunities for us to bring additional services to the product and do it in a creative way.”

Reading between the lines forms a fairly clear picture. Windows 10 is not going to be entirely free, but it will be sold in ways we’ve not witnessed before. That could mean a subscription model, a more aggressively tiered release or a stripped-down free version with most features locked behind a paywall.

What do the experts have to say?

None of us are fortune tellers, but some people try harder than others. A number of industry leaders and experts have made positive statements about Microsoft’s upcoming operating system. Here’s a few lines recently uttered by people in the know.

  • Renee James, President Intel: “When we see a healthy macroeconomic environment and an aging installed base we expect a new [OS] deployment. The [PCs] are fantastic and at new price points. That’s kind of a perfect storm, combined with a new OS, and the OS usually pushes the upgrade cycle.”
Renee James, President of Intel Corporation
  • John Groden, Director of Product Development for Elitebook Laptops: “We’re genuinely excited about it.” Of course, HP and other PC makers are optimistic that Windows 10 could deliver a significant bump to PC sales. (They were also optimistic about Win 8.)
  • Bob O’Donnell, principal analyst at Technalysis Research says that Windows 10 will provide a clearer path for upgrading hardware from Windows 7. To that he added, “Windows 10 finally gets past Windows Vista version 2, which was what Windows 8 was.”

Some are comparing the Windows 8 debacle to Windows Vista back in 2007, but that was certainly a different time. PCs were dominant then. Nowadays, mobile devices with different operating systems like Android and iOS have become viable PC alternatives. Neither Vista, nor Windows 7, had to compete with tablets and smartphones.

What we have to say

That’s an important distinction. Perhaps the decline in the PC market over the last few years was due to Windows 8, but what if that had nothing to do with it at all? What if it happened because consumers have simply tired of computers, no matter the operating system, and wish to move on?

Such a theory clears Microsoft of its culpability but actually worsens Windows’ future. Windows 8 is a problem that can be fixed. It’s taken years, but Windows 10 looks promising, and it should restore faith to both enthusiasts and home users. A general downturn of interest in PCs, though, is out of Microsoft’s hands. Releasing a wonderful desktop operating system won’t turn things around if everyone has moved on.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Yes, Windows 10 will help PC sales, perhaps significantly. But computing in general has changed. People want interesting new devices that Windows isn’t well suited to enable, and that means the operating system’s long-term decline probably won’t be halted by a single new OS.


Go hands-free in Windows 10 with speech-to-text support

Looking for the dictation, speech-to-text, and voice control options in Windows 10? Here's how to set up Speech Recognition in Windows 10 and use it to go hands-free in a variety of different tasks and applications within Windows.

Problems with installing or updating Windows 10? Here's how to fix them

Upgrading to the newest version of Windows 10 is usually a breeze, but sometimes you run into issues. Never fear though. Our guide will help you isolate the issue at hand and solve it in a timely manner.

Get the best of both worlds by sharing your data on MacOS and Windows

Compatibility issues between Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS may have diminished sharply over the years, but that doesn't mean they've completely disappeared. Here's how to make an external drive work between both operating systems.

Windows updates shouldn't cause problems, but if they do, here's how to fix them

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.

Get the most out of your high-resolution display by tweaking its DPI scaling

Windows 10 has gotten much better than earlier versions at supporting today's high-resolution displays. If you want to get the best out of your monitor, then check out our guide on how to adjust high-DPI scaling in Windows 10.

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

We're glad to see that USB-C is quickly becoming the norm. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone. We've got USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A.

Looking for a Chromebook? The Google PixelBook just got a $200 price cut

Once relatively obscure, Chromebooks have come into their own in a big way in recent years. One of our favorites is the super-sleek Google Pixelbook, and it's on sale right now from Amazon for $200 off, letting you score this premium laptop…

Nvidia’s GTX 1650 graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over the 1050 Ti

Rumors suggest Nvidia might soon launch the GTX 1650, and a leaked benchmark listing from Final Fantasy XV suggests that the new graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over last generation's GTX 1050 Ti. 

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.

Get the new Dell XPS 13 for $750 with this limited-time deal

Dell is currently running a limited time deal lasting through Thursday, March 28, where you can bring home a version of this year's new XPS 13 for around $750 with the use of a special coupon code. 

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.

Microsoft’s Clippy came back from the dead, but didn’t last very long

Before Cortana, Alexa, and Siri even existed, Microsoft Clippy dominated the screens of computers in the 1990s to help assist Microsoft Office users when writing letters. He recently made a bit of a comeback only to die off again.

Nvidia faces attacks from AMD, Intel, and even Google. Should it be worried?

Nvidia announced an expanded array of RTX server solutions designed to leverage the power of ray-tracing at GTC 2019. The effort will help Nvidia take on Google's Stadia in game streaming with GeForce Now, and the company's investments in…