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A new report denies rumors of a subscription-based Windows 12

A Windows 12 logo with a price tag

Yesterday, we published a story detailing the possibility of Microsoft making the next-generation Windows release a subscription-based operating system. Code change in Windows 11 version 23H2 from the Release Preview suggested that Windows "12," or whatever Microsoft plans to call Windows 11's successor, would be available as a subscription, like Microsoft 365, Xbox Game Pass, and other services. As it turns out, those assumptions are likely false.

Windows Central published a new report, shooting down rumors about a Windows "12" subscription. According to their information, the discovered code bits are unrelated to the next Windows client version, expected in the second half of 2024. Instead, that code references the recently spotted Windows 11 IoT Enterprise Subscription.

Still, you can expect Microsoft to lock more parts of Windows behind some sort of subscription. For example, the company plans to make Windows 365, an enterprise-exclusive service, available for regular consumers, allowing them to use cloud-based Windows PCs for daily needs. Therefore, more references to new subscriptions in the Windows code base should not surprise you. Still, the main dish, Windows "12," will remain a pay-once (or source it using other methods) product.

Microsoft does not want to become the only company offering its operating system using a subscription. It is the only company charging customers for its operating system, while Google and Apple offer their solutions for free, at least technically. It would be too hard for Microsoft to explain to your average Joe why he should pay monthly for using Windows. The report from Windows Central claims the main part of Windows and its core components will never require a subscription.

What do you think about the idea of a subscription-based Windows "12?" What features or capabilities would make you consider subscribing to such a product? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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