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Microsoft changes mind on free Windows 10 for pirates

Barry Collins
18 May 2015
Windows 10
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Microsoft will make pirates pay to wipe the slate clean

Microsoft has seemingly changed its mind on delivering free Windows 10 upgrades to those running pirated versions of Windows. In March this year, the company suggested even those running illicit versions of Windows 7 and 8 would still benefit from the free upgrade to Windows 10 that legitimate customers will receive. 

"We have always been committed to ensuring that customers have the best Windows experience possible," Microsoft said in a statement at the time. "With Windows 10, although non-Genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the licence."

Windows 10 testers to get free upgrade to the real thing

Now, it seems Microsoft has had a change of heart. In a blog post explaining Microsoft's position, Windows chief Terry Myerson says the company will merely offer upgrade incentives to those running pirated versions of Windows. "Microsoft and our OEM partners know that many consumers are unwitting victims of piracy, and with Windows 10, we would like all of our customers to move forward with us together," he writes.

"While our free offer to upgrade to Windows 10 will not apply to Non-Genuine Windows devices, and as we’ve always done, we will continue to offer Windows 10 to customers running devices in a Non-Genuine state. In addition, in partnership with some of our valued OEM partners, we are planning very attractive Windows 10 upgrade offers for their customers running one of their older devices in a Non-Genuine state."

Microsoft doesn't state what these "very attractive offers" will be, urging readers to "stay tuned" for further announcements, but given that pirated versions of Windows 10 will doubtless appear the moment the operating system is released, it's hard to envisage what Microsoft could offer to convince those running pirated software to go straight. 

In all likelihood, these incentives will only be on offer in areas with high rates of Windows piracy, such as China and other parts of the Far East. We can't see Dell UK suddenly offering torrent kiddies a cheap upgrade, but we might be wrong... 

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