According to the venerable Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft may be looking to introduce a price hike for certain versions of Windows. While the changes may largely affect enterprise users of Windows, some of the new policies may cause prices for enthusiasts to also go up.
Foley's sources claim Microsoft will be changing up the way it licenses Windows 10 to its OEMs, who may then push the price hike along to customers. In particular, Microsoft may begin to license Windows 10 based on the processor family used in the system, with the Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron families in line for a sizeable price hike.
This would, of course, affect enterprise users who may use these high-performance processors for workstations but it may also end up increasing costs for enthusiasts and professionals, who may choose to use them in their personal machines for boosted performance. According to an OEM price list, server-grade processors with four or fewer cores will attract a cost of $144 per license for Windows 10 Pro for Workstations per machine, while those featuring more than four cores may expect to fork out $230.
The company is also expected to release Windows 10 Pro for Workstations later this month and, according to new documentation, this version of Windows may become mandatory for all desktop machines running a server-grade processor. The new SKU is expected to be available as an upgrade from Windows 10 Home and Pro once it launches although Microsoft has not yet disclosed upgrade costs.
The second big change affects PCs which ship with a version of Windows 10 that comes with downgrade rights to Windows 8.1 or Windows 7. Customers who purchase volume-licensing from Microsoft will see no change as per their agreements but those who don't may see Microsoft increase the pricing of such SKUs by as much as $270 per license. The move is believed to be a further attempt to shore up the market share of Windows 10 and discourage users from buying new machines with an older version of the OS.
A Microsoft spokesperson refused to comment on any possible changes to the pricing of Windows 10, though they did provide more information on how long downgrade rights for Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1 Pro will still be available:
"In OEM licensed versions of Windows 10 Pro, end users will continue to have downgrade rights to the two prior versions of Windows Pro products. End users can downgrade from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 8.1 Pro or from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 7 Professional."
"Windows 10 downgrade rights are available until the end of the extended support for Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 7 Professional respectively. End users can go to this page for additional information."