Microsoft Stretches Windows 10 Upgrade Deadline for Disabled Users
On July 29, a year after Microsoft released Windows 10, the software giant will pull the plug on the free upgrade offer that enabled millions of Windows 7 and 8.1 users to get the new operating system at no cost. After that date, owners of older Windows PCs will need to pay up in order to install Windows 10.
There is one exception, according to Microsoft Senior Program Manager Daniel Hubbell. In a Microsoft Accessibility Blog post, he wrote, "We want to clarify that that deadline will 'not' apply to customers who use assistive technologies. We are continuing to deliver on our previously shared vision for accessibility for Windows 10 and we are committed to ensuring that users of assistive technologies have the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10 for free as we do so."
Making technology more accessible to people with disabilities has become a priority for the Redmond, Wash., corporation.
In January, the company tapped Jenny Lay-Flurrie to serve as the new chief accessibility officer, who reports to Susan Hauser, corporate vice president for Microsoft's new Business and Corporate Responsibility Group. She replaced Rob Sinclair, who went on to head Microsoft Windows and Devices Group's accessibility efforts.
The Windows 10 free upgrade offer ends this summer, but users that rely on technologies that improve accessibility have more time to make the switch.
Jenny Lay-Flurrie leads a cross-company advisory team charged with promoting accessibility, inclusion and transparency throughout the massive organization and its product groups. The appointment is part of a broader effort to bake accessibility into Microsoft's corporate culture and product strategy. Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, said in a statement that his company is "tapping engineering leads within our Applications and Services and our Cloud and Enterprise Groups to lead the accessibility work in their respective business groups."