Update Microsoft has now sent a statement to Polygon that says even if pirates do update their old non-licensed version of Windows to Windows 10, they will still be using an un-licensed software product. Here's Microsoft's new statement:
"We have always been committed to ensuring that customers have the best Windows experience possible. With Windows 10, although non-Genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the license. Non-Genuine Windows is not published by Microsoft. It is not properly licensed, or supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner. If a device was considered non-genuine or mis-licensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mis-licensed after the upgrade."
Original story In what may turn out to be an historic move in the battle against piracy, Microsoft's Terry Myerson has announced that the software vendor will allow all customers — whether they're running genuine Windows software or a pirated version — to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.
The move is clearly targeted at the Chinese market, where two-thirds of all PCs run pirated versions of Windows. Speaking to Reuters, Myerson said:
"We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10," he said in a telephone interview with Reuters. The plan is to "re-engage" with the hundreds of millions of users of Windows in China, he said, without elaboration.
By giving away Windows 10 for free, at least for the first year, Microsoft is deviating from its regular sales model for the first time. The software maker announced earlier today that Windows 10 will be launching this summer in 190 countries, with the vendor focusing its attention on China.
Lenovo has committed to rolling out the Windows 10 upgrade to its customers as soon as it becomes available, as well as stating that it would launch its first Windows Phone over the summer.
The Redmond giant also inked a deal with Chinese internet portal Tencent in bringing popular games such as League of Legends to the Windows 10 store. Tencent has stated that it will also be working to roll out the Windows 10 update as soon as possible.