While Microsoft’s modern platforms are slowly gathering pace, there has been talk about what kind of a pricing strategy should Redmond employ for its operating systems going forward.

There have been reports that Microsoft is considering giving it away for free to mobile OEMs, and at the same time there have been some calls that the company should make Windows 8 free for all users.

The gist of the matter, according to these new insights is that it was not actually the brand new UI that was necessarily the main drawback of the new OS, but it was the high price that drove users away from upgrading their computers.

Clifford Leimbach, an IHS analyst suggests that while Microsoft is not about to lose its position of dominance in the traditional PC operating system market, it still needs to react quickly:

“While price-conscious consumers are likely to stay with Microsoft because of its less expensive PCs, a struggle of sorts may yet emerge in the market for consumers currently on the fence for premium-priced computers.

A Mac could become more appealing to this receptive segment of buyers, especially when free upgrades now — and for the future — are considered in the overall calculations of a new purchase.”

IDC, however, thinks otherwise. Chris Ingle, an analyst with the market research firm, suggests:

“I don’t think consumers carry out lifecycle cost analyses when deciding which equipment to purchase. Performance is the top issue in the most recent research we have done. I’m not sure how much the balance of purchase price and upgrade costs weighs upon purchasing decisions.”

At the end of the day, perhaps the biggest factor in this slow uptake is the timing — Microsoft was late to the mobile party by a few years, and had Windows 8 (along with Windows powered tablets) launched a little while earlier, things could probably have taken a different turn.

At the very least, it would have meant the platform would have matured by now, at a time when the competition is getting stronger with every new generation.

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  • David Farris

    What a disastrous request from “analyst”. The last time MS gave away something for free every one in the world sued them. This is patently stupid.