Microsoft sinks pirates with no free Windows 10 treasure

Microsoft has cleared the air when it comes to non-genuine (pirated) versions of Windows 7 and 8, confirming that those copies of Windows will not receive the free upgrade to Windows 10 in July.

It comes after months of silence as to whether Microsoft would acquit pirates and offer them genuine copies of Windows 10. Microsoft originally said it would allow non-genuine copies, but vice president of operating systems Terry Myerson has backtracked in a new blog post.

Microsoft still wants to make money on Windows 10 and offering a pardon to pirates might be too much lost revenue, even though we expect pirates will easily find a crack to Windows 10 in the first few months.

Ever since Satya Nadella took over as chief executive of Microsoft, the company has been much more open to past issues, including piracy. The new focus on services and cloud also makes it seem like Microsoft is moving away from Windows being the breadwinner for the company, instead focusing on OneDrive, Office and other services.

If Nadella’s plan is to have as many people on Windows 10 as possible, it doesn’t make sense to persecute pirates. Instead, have them download genuine copies for free, and push them to buy an Office 365 or OneDrive subscription.

It seems like the old guard still has some say in how Microsoft does business. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is still a chairman on the board and ex-CEO Steve Ballmer remains one of the largest shareholders.

Windows 10 will be available for free to Windows 8 and 8.1 consumers, and Microsoft is planning to make it free for a year to Windows 7 customers. Windows XP and Vista will have to pay for the new operating system.

Microsoft has several versions of Windows 10 planned, including three desktop, one mobile, one Internet of Things, education, enterprise and a few other business-related platforms. These will all be launched in late July this year.