Microsoft announced upgrades to Windows 8 will cost $39, which is a risky strategy. Here’s why it could be the move Microsoft needed to make
I’ve said before developers are crucial for Windows 8, and Microsoft could have incentivised the move
Microsoft’s announcement of a $39 upgrade fee to Windows 8 was surprising, and mirrored Apple’s super low pricing strategy for new versions of OS X which makes upgrading an obvious decision. Developers don’t need to worry about an expensive version of Windows later this year, so apps galore could begin to arrive come October.
Unfortunately the Windows 8-Windows Phone 8 integration isn’t favorable when looking at Windows Phone 8, so Microsoft can’t rely on those developers to bring apps to Windows 8 at launch. Therefore it needs to create a low barrier to entry, and $39 is exceptional value for money considering that’s for Windows 8 Pro.
There was also the nice touch of Windows Media Center being free for upgraders, by effectively toggling it after installation. That’s one less reason for those users to upgrade, even if Microsoft does say they’re a small proportion of the Windows install base. Considering Microsoft is now in a state of limbo while it kills Zune off and launches Xbox Music sometime soon, it at least provides users their content.
Developers, Developers, Developers?
Of course there’s still the question over whether developers will warm to Metro; there’s little reason to suggest they won’t, though, because Windows 8 is still going to have a huge install base. Yes there’s the awkward co-existence between the desktop and Metro modes, but that’s why the Windows 8-Windows Phone 8 cross-development integration was needed: there’s a familiar interface across two platforms.
And we haven’t seen a killer app, such as an Instagram (when it was iOS exclusive) or an Angry Birds. Xbox Live could bring big brands such as Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed to Windows 8, which seemed to be the point of having Xbox Live on Windows Phone. It’s something Apple and Google can’t offer.
It’s interesting to see if Microsoft’s price point does incentivise developers; I feel due to the changes Windows 8 is making, and laying the foundations for in future versions of Windows, some users aren’t comfortable moving from the traditional Windows experience.