Microsoft’s free upgrade to Windows 10 for users with at least Windows 7 was announced in January, but news has broken that Microsoft is offering the upgrade to everyone–even those with pirated versions of older Windows operating systems. The amnesty upgrade is a clear play for the Chinese market, says Reuters, where three quarters of all operating systems are “not properly licensed.”
Windows 10 is Microsoft’s back-to-basics big swing to get users back, but this move is straight from CEO Satya Nadella’s playbook: get users, get users, get users. In the year since assuming the office, Nadella has released Office to iOS, Android, and the cloud, and announced that its Siri competitor Cortana is headed to iOS and Android. Instead of strong-arming users to keep them in the Microsoft walled garden, Nadella has done the opposite and let Microsoft’s beasts roam.
Microsoft made the upgrade announcement at the WinHEC tech conference in Shenzhen, China, but the tech company had another ace up its sleeve: They mentioned an initiative-in-progress that was testing Windows 10 installed on Xiaomi’s Mi 4 Android smartphone, says TechCrunch. This isn’t a dual-boot option to run both Windows and Android like Microsoft has sold in India, notes TechCrunch–the software Microsoft is testing completely overwrites the Android software native to Xiaomi phones and purely uses Windows.
The trial, termed the Windows Insider Program according to a Microsoft statement, will let Mi 4 “power users” flash their phones with Windows 10 to provide feedback for Microsoft, says TechCrunch. Xiaomi was quick to distance itself from any rumor of a partnership with Microsoft and said it was “merely assisting” with the trial.