One of Microsoft’s biggest decisions this year will be whom to charge for Windows 10, and the dollar figure on the price sticker.
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Hints of that decision could come as early as Jan. 21, when Microsoft executives will not only unveil the next iteration in Windows 10’s string of previews, but also further explain Windows’ part in the company’s overall strategy. CEO Satya Nadella has alternately portrayed that strategy as “cloud-first, mobile first” and “productivity and platforms.”
In December, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner said that the firm would reveal its Windows business model plans in early 2015. Details of that model have not been disclosed, but would certainly include how Microsoft figures to make money off Windows after it’s begun giving away licenses to makers of phones, smaller-sized tablets and inexpensive personal computers.
As part of an explanation of monetization — which Turner acknowledged requires “creative ways” — Microsoft might also use the January event to discuss Windows 10’s upgrade pricing.
Wes Miller, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, was skeptical in a recent interview. “[Upgrade pricing] isn’t the most important thing right now,” he said, pointing out that Microsoft typically discloses that information just a few months before shipping, or early-to-mid summer when it releases a new operating system in the fall.