Why Doesn’t Microsoft Just Give Windows Away?

Since Friday, the blog post describing the changes to the Windows Insider preview program has been silently updated. Previously it said that signed up members of the Insider Program running a preview version would “receive the Windows 10 final release build and remain activated.” Now it says only that they will “receive the Windows 10 final release build.” The activation wording has been removed. The company has also added a “clarifying” sentence: “It’s important to note that only people running Genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can upgrade to Windows 10 as part of the free upgrade offer.” This is in contrast to what the company said on Friday, when Microsoft’s Gabe Aul confirmed that upgraded preview copies would be Genuine.
– via Ars Technical

I know there must be some reason why Microsoft refuses to just make Windows free to everyone. Considering how few people ever upgrade their Windows computers (they tend to get the new version when they buy a new computer), I have to believe it has something to do with the licenses Microsoft gives to OEMs like HP, Lenovo, and Dell. Those companies have to pay to pre-infall Windows on their PCs, and it must make Microsoft some money.

Still, speaking as a Mac user who has had free OS X updates for years at this point, all the hoops you have to jump though to get “Genuine Windows” on your computer seems ridiculous.