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Microsoft will upgrade pirated copies of Windows for free

Microsoft is making a big push with Windows 10 to re-ingratiate itself with its customer base. It made a big splash earlier this year when it announced that it would be giving everyone with legitimate copies of Windows 7 and 8 free upgrades, but it’s now looking like it might extend that offer to anyone with a pirated version of the OS too. The only downside, is it may be limited to Chinese pirates only.

“We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10,” said Microsoft’s OS head, Terry Myerson in a phone call with Reuters. He went on to state that the reason for this was because Microsoft wanted to “re-engage,” with all of the hundreds of millions of Windows users in China. The lack of clarification comes from the fact that he didn’t elaborate on whether that meant that the deal would be extended worldwide.

I guess it wasn’t kidding

Even if it is restricted to the eastern nation however, this is a surprising move by the company, which has traditionally employed lengthy activation keys in an attempt to thwart piracy. For those that don’t mind skipping out on Windows updates though, that rarely poses much of a problem and piracy is endemic in China, which is presumably why Microsoft plans to offer the free upgrade, because at least if people are using a legitimate version, they will have a better experience with the software.

That and they might buy the next version further down the line. Microsoft is also looking to market some of its more traditional products like Office as a service, using a subscription model to make up for losses in other areas.

Myerson also said in his chat that Windows 10 would be released sometime this summer, marking the first time that Microsoft has officially slated a date for its launch.

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KitGuru Says: This is an unprecedented move by a major software company. It will be interesting to see if it pays off in the long run. 

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