Windows 10 is the new beginning of Windows as a Service (WaaS). For many, the word service implies monthly or yearly financial charges as similar to Microsoft's own Office 365 or Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
However, this is not the case here. Assuming you have a PC or laptop with a valid Windows 7 or Windows 8 license key, Windows 10 is a free upgrade that will receive free upgrades for the life of the product.
Once you upgrade, its yours forever at no additional cost. As Microsoft Program Manager for Windows Terry Myerson described it:
"This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device –at no additional charge."
Indeed, Microsoft offers complete support for Windows 10 until October 2020, including new feature additions. Further support for security and bug fixes run even longer through October 2025.
Once you upgrade to Windows 10, it is yours forever. Granted, Microsoft is likely to release a 'Windows 11' in 2020 but in four years, the computing world is also likely to be a very different place. Even then, it is not clear what Microsoft would do as there are extreme market pressures to keep Windows free persistently.
Note: You have until July 29, 2016 to take advantage of this free upgrade offer.
Microsoft's approach to Windows 10 is vastly different from previous desktop releases. The Windows team is not releasing massive service packs any longer with rolled-up fixes and new features.
Windows 10 users should instead expect a steady stream of updates whenever they are needed. One reason Microsoft can do this is they have broken down core OS components into separate, updatable apps through the Store.
No longer will users have to risk upgrading the OS each time Microsoft wants to change something. Instead, they are taking the smartphone model in which they can continually improve the OS through direct core component updates to users.
Windows 10 can be used for your main computer. In fact, it is built for it. Nevertheless, the way we use devices has changed and Windows 10 reflects this with its new feature called Continuum. Continuum means that your computer changes according to your needs. One-half of this refers to the rise of 'two in one' computers which are a laptop one minute and a tablet another. That hardware story has been around for a few years now as exemplified by the Microsoft Surface.
When you remove your keyboard the OS adjusts to a touch-only interface, hiding elements for mouse and keyboard users. Alternatively, adding a keyboard and mouse shifts the OS back to a more traditional desktop environment. Windows 8 style for tablets, Windows 7 for PCs and laptops and no thought for the consumer.
Continuum is Microsoft's answer to those who complained about Windows 8 and 8.1 and its focus on touchscreens. In effect, Microsoft went too far with Windows 8, and now they are dialling it back with Windows 10. However, instead of just undoing what they did they are adding flexibility to the OS for different scenarios.
If you have the hybrid laptops (such as the Surface Pro 3), this amounts to subtle shifts in the UI when you unplug the keyboard and go full touch.
In the case of Windows 10 Mobile phones, however, it difference will more be dramatic and potentially game-changing. Put simply, Continuum will enable you to turn your smartphone into a PC. It will allow you to connect a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to your phone and essentially operate it as you would a Windows 10 computer.
Microsoft is making Windows an OS for any device in a world that is always changing.