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Windows 10: free upgrades even for pirated copies

It looks like Microsoft plans to tackle Windows piracy in a unique way, as the company is looking to provide free Windows 10 updates even for pirated Windows copies.

As we've reported a few hours ago, Microsoft announced today in China that Windows 10 will be released at some point this summer. In an interview with Reuters, Terry Myerson (the head of Microsoft's operating systems division) said that Microsoft will offer free Windows 10 updates to all "qualified PCs", including those running a pirated Windows copy.

Reuters says that three out of four Windows copies used in Chinese offices are illegitimate. Today's Microsoft announcement placed a lot of emphasis on the importance of the Chinese market, and that's probably why most tech experts assumed that free Windows 10 updates for pirated copies will be a China-exclusive offer, an attempt to get Chinese businesses on board with Windows 10 once the new operating system launches this summer.

At the moment, there is a certain degree of confusion regarding these free Windows 10 upgrades for pirate users. Although it's a bit early for celebration, it looks like torrent users from across the globe will have reason to rejoice. Microsoft recently responded via email to The Verge, stating that "[...]Anyone with a qualified device can upgrade to Windows 10, including those with pirated copies of Windows[...]". Numerous media outlets contacted Microsoft for clarification, but so far the Redmond-based tech giant has yet to respond to most of these inquiries.

If Microsoft is indeed planning to allow free updates even for pirated copies of Windows, then this is a lot like offering the new operating system for free. Anyone with an Internet connection can download and install a pirated version of Windows 7 or Windows 8, and then get a free update to the genuine version of Windows 10. We're keeping a close eye on the matter and will keep you updated once the confusion clarifies.


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Mihai Andrici, 2015-03-18 (Update: 2015-03-18)