Microsoft just announced that Windows 10 is going to be a free upgrade for all Windows 7 users.

Photo courtesy of The Verge

This is a pretty big deal; Windows 7 -> 8 wasn’t free, but 7 -> 10 will be. It also sets a precedent going forward, though, that Windows will always be a free upgrade – it’ll be interesting to see if that remains true, or if this is a one-time deal to get as many people on the same platform as possible.

While this is an expensive decision, it’s almost certainly the right one – Microsoft already has a user base split between Windows 7 and Windows 8, and adding Windows 10 to that would’ve been unmanageable. Personally, I never upgraded my desktop to Windows 8, since it wasn’t free, and I didn’t see a benefit to doing so. Now, assuming Windows 10 isn’t a disaster, I won’t have any reason not to upgrade – and Microsoft is counting on millions of other users to view it the same way.

That’s the trick, of course – to make Windows 10 good enough that people want to upgrade. Hopefully, Microsoft can pull it off.