India pushes for Windows 10 discount following recent ransomware attacks

In light of the recent WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks, India is pushing Microsoft to provide a one-time discount on Windows 10 so that its more than 50 million Windows users can upgrade to a more secure version. Reuters reports that India's cyber security coordinator, Gulshan Rai, has indicated that Microsoft is open to the prospect.

According to the report, Rai first reached out to Microsoft with the idea following the WannaCry attack in May. India is requesting a one-time price cut that would allow users and businesses in the country to upgrade at what Rai describes as "throw-away prices." Currently, Windows 10 is offered in India at starting at 7,999 rupees ($124), with more expensive versions running up to 14,999 rupees ($232).

It's not clear what a discounted price might look like, but Rai expects to hear more "in a couple of days." For its part, Microsoft has not stated whether it intends to offer a discount. It's also not clear whether any other countries have reached out with similar proposals, but India could provide a model for other similar discounts.

Reuters adds that only a small portion of India's Windows PCs are currently running Windows 10. Compounding that problem is the "wide use of pirated Windows OS versions," which wouldn't have the latest security updates. That's a particularly big problem given the fact that WannaCry, and more recently Petya, seemed to most harshly impacted Windows 7 installations. A cheap upgrade path could help to mitigate the impact of another large-scale attack.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • That's legitimate...
  • Pirated copies are starting to cause major problems, so people demand a half price discount to ditch their illegal copies. Legitimate? More like a very nice gesture by Microsoft. They already gave away free upgrades to most legal users.
  • MS offered W10 for free for a year. Now you want to upgrade?
  • Yes,lazy co....
  • If you have read the article carefully, it's about upgradation of "older" versions of Windows, older than Windows 7. The free upgrade offer was only for Windows 7 and later.
  • Then people would most likely be happier with a newer device and when a brand new device often doesn't cost a fraction more than W10 itself, it seems like the road to take
  • India has hundreds of millions of poor people, a new device might not be possible for a lot of cases :(
  • Well then what will a discount on W10 do good? I'm really sure that we aren't talking about the extremely poor people... The proberly have more urgent things to think about than ransomwares...
  • Upgradation? What, is that like 10 extra word bonus in Scrabble?
  • @Amir Mallah Plagiarism right there!!!
  • The article refers to widespread use of pirated copies of Windows in India, not pre Win7.
  • Thats for users who had genuine Windows 7 and 8.1! Most are pirated because they cant afford the price or its just too expensive to even think about it!
  • @henocksandy No, MS was clear, pirated 7/8/8.1 could be upgraded for free and get a genuine 10 during that year.
  • Nope. It was a rumor.
  • If a business steals something because they can't really afford it, sometimes there are some negatives associated, just saying.
  • People can very well afford it. We make excuses to save money. Heck we desi try to bargain every little crap we buy. It's in our blood to bargain on everything. A $100 Windows will protect you from ransomware that may cost you three times more, but we still want to bargain.
  • Pirated copies cannot be upgraded, can they?
  • I actually wish Microsoft took this opportunity to slam all of the tech bloggers who fearmongered users at every chance they could get, to prevent the masses from upgrading. Totally irresponsible on their part, and they should be held accountable. CNet, the Verge, etc. should be ashamed of themselves really. I can't blame people in India for passing on the upgrade, when they don't have enough disposeable income, and were continuously bombarded about how "Microsoft are shoving Windows 10 down our throats", or "Windows 10 is spyware", etc.
  • I think the biggest issue is "wide use of pirated Windows OS versions,". Are they expecting support? If you don't want to pay for an OS, there are tons of Linux distros for low price of free, which incidentally WannaCry was not targetting it.
  • it will be targeting Linux as soon as some 1.2b people nation switches to it, and you can rest assured the amount of security holes in it will make even XP look as secure as w10m in comparison
  • Absolutely, malware targets the largest audience. If MAC were to become the dominant OS, then we would see them being targeted. Same thing with Linux or any OS. Windows is currently the largest target, so they get the most attention.
  • Android is the largest OS out there, it's a recent development...
  • We are talking about computers here
  • hey that's discrimination towards our tiny little phones! topic is "proper" computers then :P
  • Some of our tiny phones have better hardware than some of the computers in India tho...
  • that's hard to quantify, they may have 4k decoders but my bet is on the full blown pc in software decoding, for example
  • Can't afford a license copy in the past, given discount will change the behavior of using pirated version?
  • Wasn't it offered as a free upgrade?
  • Sign up for the Insider program. Boom, solution found.
  • That's no longer true. Windows Insider builds now need to be activated with a valid key  
  • Actually that doesn't work. You need to have Windows 10 first.
  • It was. For a yr.
  • Free Upgrade was not applicable on Pirated Windows.
    Not for Genuine copies of Businesses.
    Not for Genuine copies of Government PCs.
    Also Windows is not in affordable category.
    Also not All PCs are online. So this Kind of discount really helps curb Ransomware threat.
  • Wen in US?
  • Is best comment bro
  • When you learn how to spell.
  • ... That was very obviously a joke.
  • must be new here
  • You must have joined WC recently. This is years old joke now on WC website/app.
  • they underrated windows 10, some even vowed not to upgrade, now they facing security threats they are rushing back when its not free anymore lol. losers. where were u wen it was a freebie?
  • *Indians for you*
  • Well, a lot of people like me who bought Windows 8 laptops upgraded freely to Windows 10 and enjoy.And also the people who are working in Microsoft.Net stack are upgraded, but some retarded people did not do that...And you are right, they should burn...Idiots
  • Don't give them the discount. They didn't take the advantage of free upgrade for the whole year and criticized Windows 10 for everything that it was. LET THEM BURN!!!
  • The problem is that the fallout from them can effect you. I don't know if it makes business sense for Microsoft, but it would be nice for me here in the U.S. if at least a number of them got this.
  • As much as i have seen, the only people using genuine Windows are those who got it preinstalled. Many cant afford it, many will use the cash to buy better parts. Till now i have not seen anyone suggesting to buy the Window OS, mainly because Microsoft is invisible in India. Ask anyone who Microsoft is, they just say its a company who made Windows.
  • Windows Phones were very popular in India.
  • Lots of people passed on the free upgrade which also should of helped them get out of this "Pirate" issue for free however water under the bridge a cost effective upgrade that takes these older machines out of the pond is not a bad thing. I blame the over the top reaction to Windows 8 for the poor uptake by some of the free offer, now that windows 10 I think has proved itself this should be a "no brainer" if its cheap enough.
  • The solution is simple: Windows 10 S free for everyone. Let anyone who wants to, download and install it on any machine, regardless of previous version or license status of their current OS. That would be a win for everyone, MS included.
  • That seems like a good idea. Win S for free, and you can upgrade to home/pro for a fee.
  • Cool! I like the tune it's catchy! S for free, Pro for fee!!!
  • Nice idea
  • Not sure continued support of old hardware is the best path. I'm sure most using pirated versions have little or no money and never had an upgrade path to begin with. I think this is where Microsoft partnered with one of it's OEM's, producing the cheapest possible ARM device could really shine. A program similar to One Laptop per Child, in my opinion, is the best solution. ** With full trade-in of old hardware to prevent the old hardware from being used!
  • All the fancy x86 emulation needs an SD835 though doesn't it? I don't think those devices are going to be cheap right away. Of course you could do devices that only run true UWP apps compiled for ARM which would run natively. Would be good to see the return of "good enough" computing and affordable devices
  • It's kind of what continuum could have been/could be in the future. Give them a low cost phone that doubles as a new PC perhaps, if it could be done cheap enough
  • No. Pay up like the rest of us did, or buy a legal license. These people get what they deserve.
  • Free upgrade: Microsoft is shoving Windows 10 down our throats!! Ransomware attack Microsoft must lower the price of Windows 10 because it is more secure!!!
  • i thought there already was a cheap upgrade path.  You could get Win 10 free for a whole year
  • How about if they buy 50 million windows mobile devices they also get free desktop upgrade :D
  • That might actually be possible if they are still making low end Lumias. It might not be profitable, but having millions of users in WM isn't a bad thing to gain some momentum. Android is dominant now, but not everyone is using top hardware.
  • Could nVidia also hand me a GTX-1080 Ti? I don't feel secure with my GTX 550 Ti anymore...
  • I feel the same about my MX440
  • Good way to get that marketshare...
  • Retardation. If you can't afford a proper OS... Why don't you just use android or Linux?
  • I hope Microsoft doesn't go along with this.
  • Gentlemen, for ur country it may be easy but India is not that rich to buy an OS, 80-90% of our population use the pirated version of windows and Microsoft knows that very well. Now u can find the population and strength of India in google.
  • Wow. I can't believe some of these comments. India has a very large population of extremely poor people. Microsoft is a very rich company. If they provide these people with a low cost upgrade path, that is sales that they otherwise wouldn't have made. There is still some profit in it for Microsoft. It is important to get rid of the old version of Windows to stop the worldwide spread of malware. It benefits all of us. Linux isn't always the answer. They would also have to replace all of their other software with open source solutions and that may not be possible. What about training? Windows is fairly intuitive. Linux has a much steeper learning curve. Have some compassion. We're talking about people who don't have enough to eat.
  • India has bigger reasons for having impoverishment notably the caste system, medieval/lynching laws, religion and willful squadering of grants/financing from other counties and the massive development of a military program. You can blame successive Indian governments who have failed to address the core issues and instead focussed the wealth into a few large cities and families especially with the large tech influx and migrant tech workers who are sending home their wages only reinforces the inequalities.
  • You said it... Agree 100%.
  • India is now one of the fastest growing economies.
  • Everyone here is saying that MS offered one year free upgrade to W10.
    Here are some facts for you to know:
    1. The offer was to upgrade from Windows7 and above to Windows10, and this article focused on upgrading from older OSs, much likely Windows XP. And the goal is to avoid ransomware.
    2. India and China have a big number in population, and don't under estimate it. Because when you success in these markets you get a high value of profit. So when China government forces MS to make a China version of Windows10, they do it because the power in there hands, which is the big population, similarly India.
    3. 7999Rs is about a half of the average person's monthly income. So that average person in India won't spend his monthly income for a new OS that he don't even know how to use, and not even used to it.
    4. Windows XP is super widely used in India in normal shops and ATMs. The IT people here are lazy to upgrade the ATMs. Again, the government's goal is to avoid ransomware for now and the future.
  • Excuses! Is India the only country in the world with poor people? The government is spending crap load in other sectors. The local companies are buying Jaguar, Land Rover, Star Channel and what not. People wear gold jewelry like it was made of straws. Heck even men wear gold. But of course, won't invest in a computer that comes with Windows 10 installed or buy Windows 10. The poor most people are talking about here, don't even care what a computer is. And the ones who use it, should pay up and stop begging for free stuff. Saala koi gairat hai ya nahi?!?!
  • If security is the play here. Do the deal on Windows 10 S. Then exclude that SKU from the free upgrade to Pro. They get security for a good price and Microsoft can recoup on any upgrades.
  • Hope, this could help the country in building safe security system. Microsoft must go with the discounted price.
  • Go and buy new hardware that comes with windows 10. Problem solved
  • You get what you sow! People here are very indifferent to upgrading. Forget the poor, the hungry, those don't even have a pc to begin with. Why are people here constantly saying that India is poor so Microsoft should offer discount? Yes, overall its poor, but when we are talking about people with computers, definitely they are not the ones who are starving.
    Plus, I've seen from my personal experience with many of my friends here how careless they are with upgrades. Every time i asked them to get window 10 last year when the free upgrade was on, they would say "no my window 7 is best, its working fine and I've no issue. You do it, you are afterall Microsoft's minion" not even that even people from post office and banks did not pay heed to my suggestion I know I am no big person but I just asked some of the personal personally why are you not upgrading your computer's they say the same answer that their computer is doing what they want and they cannot upgrade just because something is new I really felt angry and bad about it and I Somehow feel today that this is karma teaching them a lesson. People there are absolutely indifferent to change they do not want to have anything new did you not want to know anything new even those people who have Windows 10 on the laptop which they bought recently I try to tell the new features and they say I don't need it I show them the app store and I showed them it has Facebook and WhatsApp and Skype and picsart and collage maker and so many other applications which they use on the Android apps but still they say no I don't need it I really feel bad about it and I do feel Microsoft should accept this chance because this will be a Win-Win situation for both of them Microsoft as well as the people of India it will be a good thing for Microsoft as it will help at inch closer towards it 1billion Windows 10 device as good as India has a big population and it will significantly add to its consumer base.
  • By 1 billion installs, Microsoft meant paying customers, upgrades or computers. I agree with everything you said except giving discounts on bases of poor majority. It should be for the whole world or none.
  • Rupee has a symbol "₹". Would be better if you use it. :)
  • The discussion is based on 2 idea.... Security & Discount. Security: I believe its an universal digital human right. That's where stands free security tools like Signal messenger.... Free VPN.... So companies should be open to sell secured software free then charge for other product associated. That's the future. Bcz I believe except few ppl globally majority use pirated OS to save money. Discount: The Indian present government has initiated a digital India dream project resulting into a cashless economy. Moreover Microsoft has recently signed a deal w.r.t the low traction of Windows OS in comparison to iOS, android. So its a mutual benefit for both India & Microsoft to acquire one of the largest digtal market. Win-Win for both.