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The Five Characteristics of Successful Innovators

There is not much agreement about what makes an idea innovative, and what makes an innovative idea valuable. For example, discussions on whether the internet is a better invention than the wheel are more likely to reveal personal preferences than logical argumentation. Likewise, experts disagree on the type and level of innovation that is most beneficial for organizations. Somestudiessuggest that radical innovation (which does sound sexy) confers sustainable competitive advantages, butothersshow that “mild” innovation – think iPhone 5 rather than the original iPhone – is generally more effective, not least because it reduces market uncertainty. There is also inconclusive evidence on whether we should pay attention to consumers’ views, with somestudiesshowing that a customer focus is detrimental for innovation because it equates to playing catch-up, butothersarguing for it. Even Henry Ford’s famous quote on the subject – “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said fast…

'Free' Windows 10 Has An Expensive Secret

Do you know what’s the single biggest driver in Windows 10 adoption? That it is Free. Truly, completely, 100% free as long as you own a genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8 Home or Professional. Do you know what’s the second biggest driver of Windows 10 adoption? That it won’t be free after its one year anniversary on July 28th 2016 – so the message is you must be quick.
Except I’m willing to bet Microsoft MSFT -1.82% is pulling a fast one and the whole ‘it’ll get expensive’ argument is a myth. Here’s why…
The ‘Facts’
As it stands, what Microsoft is perpetuating is that after July 28th 2016, Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro will cost $119 and $199 respectively. Reading the official Windows 10 home page this also seems to be the case:
“Yes, free! This upgrade offer is for a full version of Windows 10, not a trial. 3GB download required; internet access fees may apply. To take advantage of this free offer, you must upgrade to Windows 10 within one year of availability. Once you upgrade, you have Windows 10 for free on that device.”
And yet what Microsoft hasn’t actually said is the most obvious point: that after this free offer Windows will revert to the standard asking price. Interestingly that isn’t actually written anywhere in the small print. Instead everyone has just assumed that will be the case.


Windows 10 update prompts are even removing all obvious options to decline. Image credit: Hayden Dingman ‏(@haydencd)
Windows 10 update prompts are even removing all obvious options to decline. Image credit: Hayden Dingman ‏(@haydencd)

In fact on the numerous occasions I’ve actually asked Microsoft to spell out precisely what will happen after the free Windows 10 offer expires, it has responded with one of two responses: 1. This hasn’t been announced yet, or 2. No comment.
So why so secretive?
The Facts
Consequently what I believe is that no matter Microsoft’s original intentions (that the ‘free offer’ was genuinely for one year or a smoke and mirrors trick to encourage adoption) the scenario has now changed because of one thing: Adoption Rates. Right now Microsoft is missing them.
Supersite for Windows breaks the numbers down in detail, but in a nutshell Microsoft currently has little to no chance of reaching its target of having Windows 10 installed on one billion PCs within “2 to 3 years” of release.
At it stands at the time of publication, Windows 10 has been installed on 110m PCs and roughly one million more are being upgraded each day. Amazing as that figure sounds, it’s bad news for Microsoft as Supersite for Windows explains the operating system was doing 2.5m installs per day in its first month of release and 1.6m installs per day by the end of October.
'Get Windows 10' notifications and upgrade pressure is going to get a lot worse. Image credit: Gordon Kelly
‘Get Windows 10′ notifications and upgrade pressure is going to get a lot worse. Image credit: Gordon Kelly
At the current rate of one million PCs per day Microsoft can’t make its two year one billion PCs target and would only just sneak inside its three year stretch target. But this relies on something impossible: that adoption rates will remain at one million PCs per day even during the two years after Windows 10 is no longer meant to be free.
There’s no chance whatsoever that this will happen and the July 28th 2016 free cut-off date would drive a stake through Microsoft’s ambitions. Of course the obvious riposte to this is: Why is it important Microsoft reaches one billion PCs? The answer: because it cannot afford not to.
Here’s why…
Why One Billion PCs
As I have already argued, right now Microsoft essentially is Windows 10. The operating system unites its PC, smartphone, tablet and gaming businesses which represent the future of the company. Right now PC sales are slowing and the others are struggling against the competition, but Windows 10 could potentially fix everything.
Truly massive adoption of Windows 10 spurs developers to embrace the operating system’s universal apps, which in turn populates the company’s smartphone, tablet and gaming sectors creating a vibrant end-to-end work and play ecosystem none of its rivals can match.
Windows 10 had to be given away free to spur this and Microsoft assumed a) that making it free would result in an adoption rate never seen before, though noting b) making it permanently free would take the pressure off users to upgrade quickly.
Windows 10 adoption rates have fallen behind Windows 7, despite it being free. Image credit: Statista
Windows 10 adoption rates have fallen behind Windows 7, despite it being free. Image credit: Statista
What Microsoft didn’t foresee in a world where so many things are free is making Windows 10 free for a year wouldn’t be enough and the fact adoption rates have now fallen behind Windows 7 (when there were far fewer PCs into the world and it was never free) must be a shock to the company. So as much as users may be worried about the cost of Windows 10 after July 28th 2016, Microsoft must fear the consequences of charging for Windows 10 even more.
As such Microsoft finds itself in a situation where it either sticks to its guns and watches adoption tank after July 28th 2016 or offers some sort of U-turn/’surprise’ extended offer to keep adoption rates high.
Since the former is not an option, the latter looks the only way to go and it would explain why Microsoft remains so cagey about giving any sort of firm answer on something as simple as ‘What happens to Windows 10 after July 28th?’.

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