Whatever the validity of Microsoft's grandiose claims for the next version of Windows, one major feature could have big implications for MSFT stock.
Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 on Tuesday at a special event in San Francisco.
"Windows 10 represents the first step in a whole new generation of Windows," gushed Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's operating systems group. The new version will be such a massive leap over the current Windows 8, he explained, that Microsoft felt compelled to skip past Windows 9.
Customers ultimately will decide whether Windows 10 is a flop like Windows 8 and Vista or an enduring success like Windows XP and Windows 7; the new version goes on sale sometime next year.
To be sure, consumer reaction will affect the sales of Windows 10, which will have a direct impact on Microsoft stock.
But many suspect that a possible change to the way the software is sold – something Microsoft declined to discuss on Tuesday – could have a much more lasting impact on MSFT stock…
MSFT's Windows 10 Catch
Microsoft is very likely to introduce a subscription pricing model when it officially launches Windows 10, fundamentally changing how customers purchase its flagship product.
Most people buy a copy Windows indirectly when they buy a new PC. The software is pre-installed, with the PC manufacturer having already paid the licensing fee to Microsoft. It's what's called a "perpetual license" – good for the life of the PC.
The only time such a customer would pay for Windows is if he bought a new version of Windows as an upgrade.
Under a subscription model, a copy of Windows would still be pre-installed on a new PC, but the customer would have to pay Microsoft a monthly or annual fee to keep it active.
The fee would be modest, with the possibility that certain advanced features would cost a little more.
That might sound like a rip-off at first, but it can benefit the customer as well as Microsoft…