Dear Linux Users, Will You Use Windows If It Becomes Free?

Updated on: 2014-03-23 || Source: softpedia.com

One of the reasons Linux-based operating systems are so popular is that it’s completely free, but what if Microsoft changed its business profile and provided the Windows operating for free or at a ridiculous price? Would you be willing to use Windows?

The Windows platform has some definite advantages over its Linux counterpart in some areas. For example, games and everything that has to do with the technology surrounding this very important aspect are years ahead of the Linux platform.

Also, a number of very important applications are only being developed for Windows and there are no alternatives on Linux that even come close.

It’s true that in the past couple of years the number of companies and developers that decided to also release Linux versions has increased, but there is still a long way to go.

One of the ways that Microsoft will remain competitive on the market is to provide its users with a very cheap Windows system. Right now, the Windows OS has a prohibitive price for the retail versions (we won’t talk OEM because it implies buying a new system), $120 (€87) and $200 (€145).

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Microsoft changes its business plan and start providing free Windows versions or updates. You pay a really small price for your first Windows version, and then all the big updates for the system will come for free for a number of years. Apple has a somewhat similar idea with Mac OS X.

It would be interesting to find out how many people actually really care about privacy, security, vulnerabilities, and the inability to modify your system to your liking. How many users really care that they can’t choose the desktop environment or that they are locked in a paradigm that is unlikely to change?

Before dismissing the idea that Windows could be free one day, you need to realize that there is a very powerful trend in the software business, whether it’s about applications or games. The competition is becoming so fierce that the prices of the various products have been going down just to stay competitive.

The tone has been set by Apple and Google, and their respective app stores are now selling apps at ridiculous prices, which would have been unimaginable just a few years back. It’s a matter of time until the developers of major PC apps and games start to think the same way and start valuing the bulk sales more. Maybe it’s better to sell a game at half the price and get more copies out the door than to sell it to full price a lot less clients.

Windows as a free product won’t happen overnight. It will probably take a few more years, but the main reason for a free Windows OS will certainly be the rise of Linux. Right now, Linux is surfing a wave of approval and more developers and engineers than ever are announcing their support. We can only surmise that soon enough, in the next couple of years most likely, Linux will become a force on the desktop front that can no longer be ignored.

Linux will continue to be free and Microsoft will have to lower its prices for Windows in order to remain competitive. Will you choose Windows if that happens or are you happy with what Linux is offering?

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