Windows 10 is the first version of Windows where Microsoft is pitching its marquee operating system as a service instead of a standalone software product. One of the biggest changes to Windows has also gone unnoticed by most. Spotted by PC Authority , Microsoft has changed the End User License Agreement (EULA) for the OS, which now allows Microsoft to remotely delete pirated software on your machine.
"Sometimes you'll need software updates to keep using the Services. We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices. You may also be required to update the software to continue using the Services," reads the updated EULA agreement.
Now, this big change for a desktop class operating system. PCs in emerging markets like India and China are known to run pirated copies of software. In fact, in a country like India a high percentage of the computers are actually running pirated copies of the operating system itself.
Microsoft was also in a way forced to make Windows 10 a free upgrade including pirated users of Windows 7 and 8. People who were running pirated copies of Windows can upgrade to Windows 10 without any issues accept that the OS will keep letting user know that it is not a genuine copy. As for the functionality, Windows 10 is fully functional.
Also read: Windows 10 walkthrough: Best and surest way to install the new OS
So how does Microsoft determine, if you're running pirated software? Well, there's no clarity on that. This could be problematic if you're playing games and are able to access services like Steam through illegal means or perhaps running illegal anti-virus software. There's also a privacy angle here as Microsoft will be keeping an eye on your system and what type of hardware and software you're running.
While this may not be to everyone's tastes, it has to be noted that Apple and Google both do a similar thing on their mobile platforms iOS and Android. Apple, though, doesn't do the same with its desktop platform OS X.
The difference here is that for Microsoft, Windows 10 is a operating system that will span across different hardware categories -- phones, tablets, notebooks, desktops, wearables, game consoles, and IoT hardware.
We have reached out to Microsoft for clarity on this issue and will update if we hear from them.