THE OFFER PERIOD for the free upgrade to Microsoft's latest and snoopiest Windows 10 operating system expires in just 99 days from now.
That's just 99 days to take advantage (if you're a personal user) of the chance to upgrade to adverts on the home screen, downloads you didn't know you'd given permission for and built-in obsolescence for chipsets. Plus all the other Updategate gripes we have with Windows 10.
But is Microsoft really going to stop giving it away? In some senses, the strategy is working. After all, Windows 10 has gone from nothing to the second biggest operating system by market share in under nine months.
But, if Microsoft goes for the extension alternative, it paints a picture of a company without teeth, and will make it look to holdouts like they can hold out even longer.
Then again, they can't exactly start charging to show teeth, and then stop again, as they'd have to refund everyone.
And there's another big factor at play: the hardware industry. Hardware sales are down. Look at any Gartner or Trendforce report and you'll see that PC sales are, basically, through the toilet. And many analysts believe that's down primarily to being offered a free upgrade to Windows 10.
It makes sense. If you've got an entry-level PC the cost of replacing it is not much more than buying the updated operating system with the added bonus of newer hardware. So who is going to buy a new PC if their old one works and they can upgrade it for free?
Of course, many people just haven't bothered. The most recent figures from Netmarketshare show 63.9 per cent running Windows 7 and 8 compared with just 14.15 per cent running Windows 10.
Even allowing for the fact that most of those will be business machines, you counter-allow for the fact that Windows 10 runs on devices other than laptops and desktops and the figures don't look so pretty.
So it's a difficult one to call and Microsoft is fairly cagey about Windows 10, as we've found out on many occasions.
Upshot is, if you're dithering, keep dithering, but only for 99 days. After that, it could be mo' money, mo' problems. Yes. Another hip-hop reference. µ
What we want to know is whether we can still get McDonalds delivered?
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