The dust is beginning to clear following Windows chief Terry Myerson’s presentation in Shenzhen, China, a few hours ago. Bottom line, as best we know: If you have a “qualifying” PC, you get upgraded to Windows 10 free.
Yes, the free upgrade offer apparently applies to PCs running pirate copies of Windows XP, Windows 7, or Windows 8. As Myerson told Reuters:
"We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10," [Myerson] said in a telephone interview with Reuters. The plan is to "re-engage" with the hundreds of millions of users of Windows in China, he said, without elaboration.
The number of pirated copies of Windows in countries like China and Russia outnumbers the licensed copies, so Microsoft wants to convert those nonpaying users. As a Microsoft spokesperson told the Verge:
"Anyone with a qualified device can upgrade to Windows 10, including those with pirated copies of Windows," says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. "We believe customers over time will realize the value of properly licensing Windows and we will make it easy for them to move to legitimate copies."
What makes a PC "qualifying" is open to conjecture at this point, but it seems clear that pirate XP users will get a free pass to Windows 10. (As Microsoft made clear a while back, Windows RT tablets definitely won't get Windows 10 at any price. But extremely few people bought those anyhow, and Microsoft quietly discontinued them more than a year ago.)