Microsoft has once again demonstrated their commitment to making their Windows 10 product the consumer operating system of choice. With their free upgrade program ending on July 29, they have announced a very unique offer to incentivize users who have had trouble performing the upgrade themselves.
The deal is straightforward. Simply bring in your functioning Windows 8 laptop to any one of their brick-and-mortar retail stores across the U.S. and Canada. If the company is not able to perform the upgrade by the end of the business day, you will leave with a brand new Dell Inspiron 15 notebook computer.
The specs of the notebook have not been announced. The most basic model available from Dell features a dual core Intel Celeron Processor, Windows 10 Home, 4GB of memory, and a 500GB hard drive. This model retails for $249 USD, and represents the lowest possible specification that users may receive.
Although this sounds like the deal of a lifetime, be sure to read the fine print. Microsoft states that “To be eligible for trade-in, you must own the qualifying device, device must power on, battery must hold charge and not be required to be plugged in to operate, and be in fully functional, working condition without broken/missing components, cracked display/housing, liquid damage, modification(s) or have device warranty seal broken to be considered working.” You will also need to make sure you drop your computer off before noon, giving the Microsoft reps enough time to perform the upgrade.
Surprisingly, Windows 7 users are excluded from this offer. NetMarketShare reports that Windows 7 represents 49.05 percent of all currently installed operating systems. By excluding these users from the Windows 10 upgrade promotion, Microsoft could miss out on the final opportunity to incentivize these users to upgrade.
For users that do not meet the qualifications for the free laptop, there is still an offer on the table. Microsoft will recycle any computer that does not meet the requirements for the Windows 10 upgrade, and will offer you $150 towards the purchase of a new computer from their retail location.
Windows 7 users who are not interested in trading in their laptops still have 13 days to take advantage of the free upgrade program. Simply by launching Windows update, the upgrade process can be started. If you are not quite ready to perform the upgrade now, you can reserve your Windows 10 license with a little preparation work. Microsoft has confirmed that once you activate your free Windows 10 license, this will remain tied to your Microsoft account. Users are able to revert back to their previous operating system, saving their license for use at a later date.
Microsoft claims they have over 200 million monthly active devices on their Windows 10 platform. They later clarified this point to mean “how many Windows 10 devices have been active within the last 28 days.” Compared to their old method, measuring the number of installs that have taken place, this represents a more accurate measurement of the Windows 10 market share. Users who reverted back to their old operating systems are no longer counted.
It is worth noting that “active devices” also includes Xbox One consoles, as these technically run their own unique version of the Windows 10 operating system. Xbox One sales have exceeded 20 million units. This leaves 180 million active desktop and notebook users on the Windows 10 platform. Microsoft announced a target adoption rate of one billion users. Since we are skirting only 20 percent of this target, even an amazing promotion such as this is unlikely to help them meet this goal before the July 29 deadline.
Users who fail to take advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade before July 29 will be forced to purchase their upgrades. Windows 10 Home will retail for $119, while the Professional version will retail for $199. Given the significant costs to users after the promotion ends, Microsoft will need a large increase in new PC sales in order to meet its targets.
[Photo by Sarah Kerver/Getty Images for Dell]