Microsoft has announced the closure of the last available path to upgrade to Windows 10 operating system without having to pay full price. The loophole offered to customers using accessibility systems will close in December of this year.
Microsoft had previously given owners of PCs and laptops that ran on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PC a whole year after the launch of Windows 10 to upgrade to the latest operating system without having to pay a single cent. This free upgrade closed down on July 31 of last year, leaving most users forced to pay the full price, with one notable exception. Any users who used what Microsoft defined as “assistive technology,” such as screen readers, had the chance to take the free upgrade, with an indefinite end date.
However, Microsoft has finally announced the end of this loophole, which is set to close on December 31 of this year. After that, anyone wanting to upgrade to Windows 10 will have to pay from around $75 or above for an upgrade license.
The definition of what counts as an “assistive technology” is rather broad, ensuring the maximum amount of people will still be able to upgrade for free. Microsoft explained its position in a support page:
We are not restricting the upgrade offer to specific assistive technologies… If you use assistive technology on Windows, you are eligible for the upgrade offer.
A cynical interpretation of this is that Microsoft is trying to ensure as many people upgrade to their latest operating system as possible. Arguably, anyone who has ever used the Windows Narrator tool has used an assistive technology. The more people that upgrade, the more it will benefit the company itself. According to NetMarketShare, only 30 percent of all PCs currently used have Windows 10 installed, compared to 49 percent of PCs that run Windows 7.