Microsoft had an aggressive approach to getting everyone on board the Windows 10 ship when the latest desktop operating system launched in July 2015, the software giant’s Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela admits.
If you’re a Windows user, you’ve most definitely experienced how Microsoft handled its Windows 10 upgrade campaign. It all started with a free upgrade offer for users of the legacy Windows 7 and 8 operating systems. For an entire year after the free offer kicked off, hundreds of millions of Windows users upgraded to Windows 10.
But, in general, the total number of users who made the switch fell short of Microsoft’s goal of reaching one billion machines. Ultimately, users of older version of Window — particularly Windows 7 — opted to stay with it for reasons of familiarity, among other factors.
Desperate times called for desperate measures. In a bid to get everybody to migrate to Windows 10, Microsoft crossed the line. Months prior to the deadline for the free upgrade, Windows 7 and 8 users received popup notifications that forced the installation of Windows 10. When users clicked the red X button in the top right corner, the system scheduled the Windows 10 upgrade instead of canceling it. Many users complained that their PCs upgraded to Windows 10 without their consent.
It was only a matter of time before negative feedback started rolling in. Capossela told Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley on the Windows Weekly podcast that Microsoft had gone too far. Users were obviously displeased by what they saw as a desperate move by Microsoft. The backlash had naturally damaged the Redmond company’s reputation, though Microsoft managed to fix the issue two weeks later.
Capossela said on the podcast:
And those two weeks were pretty painful and clearly a lowlight for us. We learned a lot from it, obviously.
While admitting to Microsoft’s aggressive Windows 10 upgrade push, Capossela also said he regretted how the software company stepped over the line. Capossela still believes Microsoft was able to manage the upgrade promotion well in the end despite the setback.