Pirates will get a free upgrade to Windows 10 too
Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for owners of Windows 7 and Windows 8 when it launches this winter, but in a somewhat unprecedented move, Microsoft is extending the offer to individuals using pirated versions of the operating system.
"We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10," said Terry Myerson, Microsoft's Vice President of Operating Systems, in an interview with Reuters.
Microsoft will offer the free upgrade to software pirates predominantly as a way to re-engage with the hundreds of millions of Windows users in China. According to Reuters, three quarters of all PC software used in China is illicitly obtained.
Chinese end-users aren't necessarily to blame for the country's rampant piracy; in an investigation conducted by Microsoft in 2012, the company purchased 169 PCs from various shops in China and found that every single one was running a pirated version of Windows. Depending on the method one uses to install a pirated copy of Windows, users may face issues downloading patches and security updates. This can lead to a fragmented, sub-optimal experience, and leave users vulnerable to cyber-threats.
Despite the focus on the Chinese market, it is understood that this offer will be available globally.