The Windows 10 free upgrade offer expires on July 29 and Microsoft is incentivizing holdouts with some last-minute perks.
The company has launched a Windows 10 Upgrade Challenge program at its brick-and-mortar stores, offering customers a free Dell laptop if Microsoft staffers fail to complete a same-day Windows 10 upgrade on compatible systems. "If your PC meets all of the requirements, our team will upgrade your PC to Windows 10. If we don't upgrade your PC by close of business, you'll get a free Dell Inspiron 15," states the program's Web page.
Ensuring that Microsoft Store technicians have plenty of time to complete the upgrade, customers must check in their PCs by noon local time at participating locations. Customers whose PCs don't make the cut will receive a $150 credit that can be used to purchase a new PC. Additionally, Microsoft is offering upgraders $20 off the price of an Office 365 Home subscription.
Whether the latest promotion moves the needle on Windows adoption remains to be seen.
Last week, Microsoft admitted that it would miss its goal of getting Windows 10 on 1 billion devices by mid-2018 after reporting that 350 million devices were currently running the operating system. The company cited its underperforming phone business for the anticipated shortfall.
Acquiring Nokia's smartphone business didn't pan out the way Microsoft hoped when it first announced the $7 billion deal in 2013. Last summer, Microsoft announced a $7.5 billion write-down pertaining to the Nokia buy. In May, Microsoft announced the company was laying off 1,850 workers, the majority from Microsoft Mobile Oy in Finland, a former Nokia facility.
IDC recently forecast that by 2020, Windows Phone will account for a mere 0.4 percent of the smartphone market, compared with 85.1 percent for Android and 14.5 percent for iOS.
"Partner OEMs have been few and far between, and this announcement certainly won't change that. Whether or not we see a Surface Phone one day is still anyone's guess, but even if so, it is likely to be a high-end device and not one with a mass market focus," stated the analyst group in its analysis.
On the PC front, Microsoft is its own competition.
Windows 10 has claimed 19 percent of the desktop operating system market, according to the latest figures from Net Applications, a Web analytics firm. Its predecessor, Windows 7, remains immensely popular with nearly half the market (49 percent). Even Windows XP, which Microsoft hasn't supported in two years, clings to nearly 10 percent of the market ahead of Mac OS X (4.93 percent) and Linux (2.02 percent).
Meanwhile, Microsoft is gearing up for the Aug. 2 release of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
The developer-friendly update will include the Bash Unix shell and command language and support for Docker-compatible Hyper-V containers. Consumers can look forward to a smarter, more capable Cortana virtual assistant and an integrated Windows Ink experience, among several other enhancements.