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Windows 10 books big growth spurt

Gregg Keizer | May 30, 2016
Dupe-the-user tactic that changed the click-the-Close-button behavior may be at root of activity gains.

While the click-X-and-you-get-Windows-10 maneuver has been in place for at least two months -- and so one would expect that the growth would synchronize with the change -- Microsoft is in complete control over when the upgrade notices appear on customers' PCs. The company has such control by virtue of the software, and the embedded instructions, it feeds to PCs via Windows Update.

In other words, Microsoft chooses the timing of when scheduled upgrade notifications appear on users' screens.

It's likely that, even though the click-X action's results were altered some time ago, users reported the behavior only recently because Microsoft issued a widespread your-upgrade-has-been-scheduled instruction to a significant number of Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs.

The ploy appears to have paid off, at least in the coin of Windows 10 activity, which is what StatCounter measures.

Not surprisingly, some have raged against the move enough to assert that they've reached the end of their rope, and that they will abandon Windows for an alternative, typically Apple's OS X or the open-source Linux. But those reports have been rare and are probably more talk than action: It's incredibly time-consuming for a consumer or small business to switch from Windows to another operating system, a change that also necessitates application replacement.

Moving from a Windows PC to a Mac adds a monetary hit as well, as the old hardware must be ditched and new systems purchased.

Microsoft is probably counting on the inertia and willing to take whatever lumps come its way for duping customers in exchange for pushing more of them onto Windows 10.

The free Windows 10 upgrade offer has about two months left to run; Computerworld will continue to revisit user and usage share changes as that deadline approaches.


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