During today’s unveiling of Windows 10 for consumers, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group, revealed that the company will allow users of its most recent operating system, Windows 8.1, to upgrade free to its upcoming operating system. The 600-million-odd users of Windows 7 and the 200 million Windows 8 fans will have a year to take advantage of the full upgrade.
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The last time round, Microsoft charged $120 to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 — one of the possible reasons the vast majority of Windows users declined to make the move.
This marks a significant shift in how Microsoft views Windows, Myerson says. Windows is no longer a static operating system but a constantly evolving service.
“The question of, ‘What version of Windows are you running?’ will no longer be a thing,” Myerson says. “Windows is a service. Users will always be up to date.”
In the Live Stream, Microsoft also announced that Cortana, its artificial intelligence-powered personal assistant and competitor for Apple’s Siri and Google Now, is coming to desktop PCs and Microsoft’s new Spartan browser. Cortana will be able to answer questions, manage your schedule, send emails on your behalf, and much more, says Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of the Operating Systems Group.
“She’s like another member of the family, sitting around waiting to get things done,” says Belfiore.