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Piracy Windows China Microsoft Operating Systems

Microsoft Offers Pirates Amnesty and Free Windows 10 Upgrades 322

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft will make Windows 10 available as a free upgrade even to pirated copies of other Windows operating systems in China. Terry Myerson of Microsoft's operating systems unit made the announcement at the WinHEC technology conference in Shenzhen, China, and then told Reuters, "We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10." Microsoft has a history of attempting to tackle massive and rising software piracy rates in Asia and developing countries, and periodically offers low-cost "licence amnesties" to the worst-offending countries, such as Indonesia and Kenya. Update: 03/18 14:59 GMT by S : Microsoft has clarified that the free upgrade will be offered for unlicensed copies of Windows worldwide, not just in China.
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Microsoft Offers Pirates Amnesty and Free Windows 10 Upgrades

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  • by MancunianMaskMan ( 701642 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2015 @08:43AM (#49282701)
    Have hokey windows97 license which has been used very occasionally for years despite "Genuine Advantage" warnings. Since I just upgraded my computer can I swap that for shiny new windows10? I'm not chinese BTW
  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2015 @08:43AM (#49282703) Homepage Journal

    Is to be overwhelming.

    In the USA, the relatively small number of pirates are treated worse than murderers and rapists, but in China, where piracy accounts for 80% of all desktops, there is amnesty. Go figure.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo.world3@net> on Wednesday March 18, 2015 @08:48AM (#49282743) Homepage

      Microsoft has done this king of thing before. They used to offer Office at over 90% discount to students. No point trying to charge them money they don't have, they will just pirate. Microsoft found a way to turn them into paying customers, which is better than nothing.

      Since Windows 10 has an app market, maybe they will get a few sales too.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Wednesday March 18, 2015 @10:37AM (#49283623)

        Microsoft has done this king of thing before. They used to offer Office at over 90% discount to students. No point trying to charge them money they don't have, they will just pirate. Microsoft found a way to turn them into paying customers, which is better than nothing.

        More than 90%. I think my dad got a copy of Office 2010 for $10 when his company did a massive infrastructure upgrade and upgraded their entire system.

        The goal is strictly marketing - if you convince people to use Windows, they'll probably stick with Windows. You may not get much money out of them, but there are long term issues to worry about - namely, platform support. If you want developers to write for your platform, you need to convince them that your platform is worth writing for. If a Chinese user is forced to choose between Windows and Linux, and they start going Linux, it hurts Windows because developers might start writing for Linux instead.

        Microsoft had to lose the mobile battle to figure that part out - that it's no longer "if you build it, they will come." You have to convince them to come.

        Windows is under constant threat - even Microsoft itself is hurting it through competition (i.e., Xbox) removing a reason to use Windows.

        If they can convince people to stick with Windows, they're more likely to stick with Windows and Office in the long run.

        Ask Microsoft how much HP pays them for the Windows license on the Stream 7 tablet ($100 tablet)? It's basically zip. Nada. Microsoft is basically giving away Windows licenses to super-cheap tablets to compete with Android. (Not that I mind, I have an iPad, but picked up a Stream 7, basically because it's a full PC for $100. It's no screamer, but for $100, it's pretty neat that you have access to everything on the desktop, including Steam, a bunch of ancient Windows 3.1 apps I use, etc.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rahvin112 ( 446269 )

        They haven't done this kind of thing before. The rumors are this is SaaS in that you can download and install it for free and even use it for a year for free but after a year they hold the whole thing hostage and demand money from you. SaaS in the retail non-business market is just insane, I hope the rumors aren't true but I suspect they are given the success they've had with office365.

    • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2015 @09:08AM (#49282875)

      The Chinese people are too big to flail.

    • "Go figure," is actually the correct way to view this.

      There's money in it for Microsoft.

      • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
        And there's back doors in it for the Chinese.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 )

          And there's back doors in it for the Chinese.

          Maybe not just for them. It's nice that Microsoft is willing to let people (and pirates - Arrrg!) upgrade for free, but it makes me wonder why they're so eager for everyone to have Windows 10. What's in it that they want to be ubiquitous and/or available? Backdoors, spyware, etc...? New ways to track people or help the authorities (and various 3-letter agencies) track usage? More A/V controls to appease the RIAA and MPAA?

          Ya, I get they want more market share - in something - but it still sounds fishy.

          • by 4pins ( 858270 )
            It doesn't seem fishy to me at all. I am sure Microsoft is tired of the stories about how their old operating systems are more popular [softpedia.com] than their current one. Their last two releases (8.0 & 8.1) have flopped. Windows XP is still more popular than both of them combined [netmarketshare.com]! A fair amount of this stems from people running old operating systems on old hardware and they hope a free upgrade on the software side will create the appearance of a win.
          • App store?
            Or, because smartphones running Windows 10 will interact more conveniently with desktops and laptops running Windows 10 than will other phones?
          • The much simpler, less-conspiracy-theory reason would be that it's easier to stop supporting old versions of Windows when users can update to the newest version for free.
    • I cannot see how we treat software pirates worse than murders and rapists in the literal sense. But I will say the heavy handed justice department has been overly tenacious at punishing non-violet crimes; specifically in the technology realm. So I understand your sentiment in scale of comparison.
    • Same policy happens in the US too - if you fail to repay $1000 the debt collectors come for you, your credit history is wiped and you could even go to jail. If you fail to repay $1bn the government gives you more money.

      Anyway, I wonder if the Chinese can start selling their newly-legitimised copies of Windows 10 on ebay?

      • by DaHat ( 247651 )

        if you fail to repay $1000 the debt collectors come for you, your credit history is wiped and you could even go to jail.

        Citation?

        The debt collectors actions are civil, not criminal and have no power of their own to have you arrested or jailed.

        Now, if the debt collector sues you in court, you fail to appear or fail to pay when the judge has ordered you to repay promptly and do not... then you can get hit with a contempt of court charge which could result in jail time... though this is not unique to debt coll

        • Hey now, that sounds suspiciously like nuance, you know that's not allowed around here.

    • by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2015 @09:16AM (#49282951)

      No, I think the key to amnesty is for Microsoft to decide that getting an upgrade out everywhere is essential to their business plan. I think the primary purpose of 'Windows 10 upgrades free for everyone' is to get Metro everywhere and jumpstart the WinPhone app store. But I wouldn't be surprised if Windows 10 (and their new 'not IE' version of IE) also forces Bing on you in ways they weren't allowed to in Windows 7 - assuming the clock has run out on the EU's monopoly remedies.

      In other words, the Windows 10 upgrade is free (even for pirated copies) because Microsoft wants to be able to use their desktop monopoly to help their other failing properties. Business as usual...

      • by mlts ( 1038732 )

        The ironic thing is that MS has nothing to lose. If they get pirates paying yuan for licenses, MS has a net gain.

        MS will always make their numbers. If they fail in every other venture, they just do a price hike for their enterprise software, and they have more than made up for the losses. Most big businesses have made the move in the past five years from SPARC/POWER/PA-RISC equipment to commodity x86 machines, then from hardware to virtualization and VM farms... so it is highly unlikely there would be a

        • If only there was some other OS that runs exceptionally well on commodity and server x86 hardware....and was free....
      • > ... key to amnesty is for Microsoft to decide that getting an downgrade out everywhere ...

        FTFY: You misspelt downgrade. :-)

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        Microsoft are really just the last ones to make their OS free. Android, various flavours of Linux, MacOS and iOS are all free and competing with Windows for market share. Microsoft already offers Windows 8 for free on devices with screens under 13", the only requirement being that the default search engine is Bing (and it can be changed).

        That's the market now. Free OS, cheap hardware, and you make your money with an app store and other free services that carry advertising. I expect there will be a free vers

        • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

          It's not that the OS is free now. They still get their cut with just about every new PC sold. It's just that Windows - as in 'platform for running WIN32 apps' - is no longer in development. But it's what everybody uses, so nobody needs to upgrade beyond Windows 7 (or even XP - if it weren't for unpatched security holes). So they really can't charge for upgrades anyway.

          Microsoft understands that the money they lose by not selling upgrades to Windows 10 isn't worth going after. They need to move everybod

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2015 @09:31AM (#49283089)

      Is to be overwhelming.

      That's standard modus operandi.

      Embezzle $1m, go to jail.
      Embezzle $100m, get fired as CEO, collect massive golden parachute, go work for someone else for more money.
      Embezzle $10b, get a taxpayer funded bailout.

      • That's standard modus operandi.

        Embezzle $1m, go to jail.
        Embezzle $100m, get fired as CEO, collect massive golden parachute, go work for someone else for more money.
        Embezzle $10b, get a taxpayer funded bailout.

        Reminds me of a bit in the Eddie Izzard [wikipedia.org] standup performance Dress to Kill [wikipedia.org]:

        You know, we think if somebody kills someone, that's murder, you go to prison. You kill 10 people, you go to Texas, they hit you with a brick, that's what they do. 20 people, you go to a hospital, they look through a small window at you forever. And over that, we can't deal with it, you know? Someone's killed 100,000 people. We're almost going, "Well done! You killed 100,000 people? You must get up very early in the morning. I can't even get down the gym! Your diary must look odd: “Get up in the morning, death, death, death, death, death, death, death – lunch- death, death, death -afternoon tea - death, death, death - quick shower"

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      I recently read about one journalist reporting from Mali.

      he was given choice of 3% or 30% tax rate. he chose the 3%. the tax officials said that even if they get 3% that's an improvement over the 1% they're mostly getting...

      anyways, ms is also giving windows and dev tools licenses to companies that bother to ask, mostly, anywhere. win8 was such a fuckup that they changed to giving it for free, which pretty much tells why win8 was such a fuckup, due to them wanting to move people to getting software from win

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      In the USA, the relatively small number of pirates are treated worse than murderers and rapists

      Really? Remind me again which pirate was sentenced to death, life imprisonment without possibility of parole, or even life imprisonment.

      Oh, that never happened? Thought not.

    • In the USA, the relatively small number of pirates are treated worse than murderers and rapists

      Citation please.

  • Giving them a new windows version is a bullet-proof method to continuously crash their computers, preventing them from pirating other software.
  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2015 @08:46AM (#49282731)
    Don't take it - its a trap! They'll have you locked in and in future you'll pay
    • Pretty much this. This is not a gift horse this is playing catch up. The question now is which surveillance/sales & marketing platform do you trust the most?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Then you pirate the upgrade. Come on now.

    • it was stated before anyone who takes the free upgraded keeps it for life of the pc.
  • Funded by the NSA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2015 @08:49AM (#49282745)
    Funded by the NSA? After all we don't want them compiling their own OSs [wikipedia.org] with home grown backdoors instead of American ones
    • At any other point in time, I would have laughed at such conspiracy theories. However, there is a good chance that the NSA simply wants to keep its backdoors. Now, there may not be intentionally backdoors in Windows, but certainly, as Stuxnet has revealed, the NSA has a very good understanding of the security flaws in Windows. Why risk losing good intel because of a new operating system that is based on Linux?

  • Makes me wish I be a Chinee pirate. Besept I don't need Wind O'Tain, and I don't know how to say 'Arrrr' in Chinees. And I hear tell their ships are all junks.
     

  • Microsoft: upgrade to our locked down version of an OS no ones tested for compatibility with your existing applications so we can stamp out a tiny fraction of our perceived losses to piracy, and in exchange we will spare you nonexistent prosecution in an overloaded court system that generally doesnt care about your non-crime.
  • Windows 10 will be "free" the way some websites are free - basic functionality is free but there will be lots of annoying limitations and barriers throughout that encourage users to pay for a premium version or take out a subscription. You only have to look at previous Windows editions to see the sort of things they can gimp to encourage people to pay out more and I bet they go all out this time around.
    • by dave420 ( 699308 )

      I heard it comes alive at night and eats cats!

      Stick to the facts, lest you wind up showing everyone you're more interested in having a pop at Microsoft than engaging in actual discourse. Like you just did.

  • I would love to upgrade my Windows XP Professional, that I actually paid good money for.

    Yeah I know.. I should probably upgrade, but since Windows 7 was more expensive than Windows 8, and it's Windows 7 I wanted, it has been postponed for some time now.

    • keep your xp license, get a rebuilder's license for 7 for $70.

      or, wait for 10, maybe it will be cheap at first

      • Or just wait until Win 10 comes out, pirate Win 7, then use the free upgrade to 10.
        • Or just wait until Win 10 comes out, pirate Win 7, then use the free upgrade to 10.

          How do you imagine that you're going to establish eligibility without activating Windows?

  • My pirated WinXP runs on a P3 box with only 256MB of RAM. Can I get a Microsoft upgrade for some hardware that is good enough to run W10. A 64-bit quad core with 16GB of ram and a 4TB disk would be nice. <G>
  • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2015 @10:33AM (#49283567)
    Ubuntu has been doing that since the beginning - free upgrade from any version to any version! Even for the pirated ones!
  • by CODiNE ( 27417 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2015 @10:36AM (#49283613) Homepage

    Since it's been confirmed as worldwide, what's the point in anyone at all paying for it?

    I have a genuine copy, but instead of paying the upgrade fee I could pirate the same thing and legally update for free. Heck I'll just use VM clones on my valid copy and keep the original around just in case.

    What's the catch? Will they lose future upgrade rights have have to buy a full copy later on?

    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      I think the key is that most people aren't going to upgrade their OS so they're basically lost sales anyways. The few people that build their computer and know how to stick an old Windows on it to get the free upgrade aren't worth the effort. This has pretty much always been the case when "upgrade" versions just required a few Windows files on the disk before they would be able to be installed.

      The vast majority buy a computer with the OS already on it and won't buy an upgraded OS for that, so Microsoft i
      • yep look how long xp stuck around with microsoft begging people to upgrade. they where forced to extend support many times. that far more expensive then just offering those guys a free copy of the latest os.
    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      I have a genuine copy, but instead of paying the upgrade fee I could pirate the same thing and legally update for free

      The upgrade will be free for legitimate copies too.

      eck I'll just use VM clones on my valid copy and keep the original around just in case.

      See, that's very tempting. Set up a bunch of VMs and make them legitimate through the upgrade..

    • well how many people actually buy a full copy of windows.very few. they run what comes with there pc until they buy a new pc in most cases. most of there pirate copy's are people who run older or custom rigs and would probably never buy it anyways. there bringing them in the fold with legit copy's. .
  • If there are extra packages installed that MS is considering using to track how these markets move, distribution models methods, sites used, etc etc.
  • I've been playing with Windows 10 for a while now, and it is pretty underwhelming in the sense that it is not significantly better than Windows 7. The only thing 10 really brings to the table is a handful of new "features" that don't benefit me (Cortana, etc.).

    I won't be bothering to upgrade my Windows machines even for free.

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