Free Microsoft Software & Services is a Step in the Right Direction

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Recently, it seems like Microsoft is trying to force a failed product (Windows 8) upon its users. It seems as though they are getting more desperate as time goes by. Earlier this year, HP reported that they have seen a significant 14% decrease in desktop and laptop sales worldwide. I realize that as we move into the age of tablets and smartphones, sales for desktops will decrease, but laptops still have their uses today. The smelly aura around Windows 8 has definitely not helped this cause either. Currently, there are rumors that Microsoft is experimenting with making free versions of Windows 8.1, Windows Phone, and Windows RT. I believe that this is a step in the proper direction.

I believe that Windows 8 has been criticized far too much for what it deserves. When I built my first PC with a dual monitor setup in mid-last year, I took the risk of buying an OEM version of Windows 8. Personally, I have been pleased with it and use the Metro Interface in order to organize all the applications that I use often and keep my desktop clean.

I realize that it didn’t meet anyone’s expectations and the idea of combining their mobile and desktop OS environment is questionable. But, all the hate from the media has potentially turned many customers to either find other solutions like Linux or return to Windows 7. I am not saying that the media is wrong, I respect their opinions but I think the vibe that they create turned potential customers off without even giving the product a try. Anyways, I believe that making a free version will at least encourage more people to try it out and form their own opinions. If the rumors are true that they are experimenting with Windows 8.1 with Bing, I question why “Bing” would be a source of attraction for potential customers. In my opinion, Windows should emphasize on the fact that their newest OS, Windows 8.1, is now free.

Secondly, I think that it is a step in the right direction because of competition. Linux is no longer an OS reserved for the “geeks.”  Although the interface is a bit different compared to Windows, Ubuntu can be easily picked up by a normal user. The younger generations are confined to Windows today because most games are not compatible with Linux. After SteamOS becomes stable and usable by young ones, I think that there will be nothing preventing them from turning over to Linux for their ordinary uses. Microsoft Office competitor like LibreOffice is already is well-established in the Linux-world. For a normal user, LibreOffice will meet all their office needs. Another major competition comes from Google Drive. One of the main attractions of Google Drive is that it is a web application. Thus, it has much more flexibility than client-based software. Multiple people can be viewing and editing a document at the same time, saving data constantly, and stable functionality are some of the major attractions. From a student’s perspective, many of my friends urge me to use Google Drive for projects because of the multiple-editing and access feature. Although I prefer Microsoft PPT for creating presentations because of the enhanced options available, to others, the functionality in Google Presentation is enough. Through this long explanation, the point that I want to make is that Microsoft will be facing tough competition as we go into the future. Most of this competition will come from open-source projects and Google.

I think that Microsoft will have to make a choice between serving business customers with professional software or please standard users with free software and monetizing on additional features. Overall, if the rumors are true, I think that it is a proper FIRST step in the right direction.

I am interested in hearing different perspectives from an aspiring geek to an IT Professional. Please leave your thoughts below!

Author

Jerin Saji

Certified in A+, Net+, and MTA for Networking Fundamentals. Have 500+ hours of Internship experience in IT. Studying for a BS in IT & MS in Software Engineering. Contact: jerinsaji209@gmail.com

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