According to a report in Reuters, Microsoft is attempting to push into the Chinese computing market this year by offering free upgrades to Windows 10 to all Windows users, even if they have don’t have a genuine copy of the software.
Windows 10 free for all Chinese users
It’s an attempted to get legitimate versions of Windows onto the hundreds of millions of PCs in China, where most of the software is not properly licensed.
Terry Myerson, who runs Microsoft’s operating systems unit, announced the plan at the WinHEC technology conference in Shenzhen, China.
Windows 10 will be released across the globe this summer according to Myerson, slightly earlier than expected.
In January this year, Microsoft said it would offer free upgrades to Windows 10 for any users of Windows 7 or later, but that’s a different scenario to China where every single Windows user will get the new version for free, even if they have a pirated version installed.
Windows 10 to roll out on PCs and smartphones
Microsoft is apparently working with Lenovo, the world’s biggest PC maker (and recently found guilty of shipping new PCs with questionable software like Superfish), to roll out Windows 10 in China.
Microsoft also offers Windows 10 through security company Qihoo 360, and Tencent, the owner of China’s biggest social network, which plans to build a Windows 10 app that will work on smartphones for its QQ gaming and messaging service.
Lenovo has also said that it will launch smartphones that run Windows 10, sometime later this year. In the meantime, Microsoft is said to be working with Chinese phone company Xiaomi (which uses a variation of Android), to offer select customers a test version of Windows 10 on their phones.
Free Windows 10 across Asia?
It remains to be seen whether Microsoft will extend its all-encompassing free Windows 10 upgrade to other Asian countries where piracy is rife. For example, in Thailand, where most new PCs do not even come with a legitimate version of Windows and usually ship with a Unix-based system such as Ubuntu, or a pirated version of Windows for a small fee.