Over the life of Windows, the price of the OS has widely fluctuated. One thing that has been consistent is that there is always a cost. With Windows 10, Microsoft broke the trend, offering an upgrade free to Windows users. At the same time, Microsoft has continued to charge for new installations. In a surprising move, however, Redmond is increasing the price for retail Windows 10. The price is now up $20 to $139.
For Microsoft, Windows 10 was an anomaly due to the free upgrade. After the blunders of Windows 8, perhaps Redmond wanted a more unified ecosystem. The free offer likely drove a lot of upgrades. While Microsoft has fallen short of their install goal, it is still impressive. In a possibly related move, Windows 10 retail keys also retailed for the cheapest in recent memory. At the launch price of $119.99, it was cheaper than Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. Only Windows 8 managed to tie the price.
A price increase so long after launch is quite rare but not unprecedented. Windows 8 launched at $70 but increased to $119 after a while. Perhaps this is a signal from Redmond that they have Windows 10 right where they want it. At this point, anyone who would want to upgrade to Windows 10 has already done so. The age of Windows 7 also makes it less attractive. Windows 10 is really the only option for Windows at this point.
Despite Windows 10 reaching sales stability, it still has a long way to go. The recent October Update, for instance, wiped out user data on upgrade. Though Microsoft might be confident in Windows 10, there is obviously a lot more work that needs to be done. It is unfortunate for Microsoft since this move is only going to invite more criticism and negative PR. The only consolation is that OEM versions continue to sell for $99.
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