REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft will be providing some Windows users with free upgrades to the newest version of the operating system, Windows 10, the company announced today.

“I’m very excited to announce that for the first year after Windows 10 is available, we will be making available a free upgrade to Windows 10 to all devices running Windows 8.1,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Operating Systems group, kicking off a series of news announcements at a press event.

A free Windows 10 upgrade is coming to all devices running Windows Phone 8.1. And for the first year after Windows 10 is available, Microsoft will provide a free upgrade to all customers still running Windows 7, Myerson said.

The company elaborated on the good news by explaining what exactly this means for existing Windows users:

This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device — at no additional charge. With Windows 10, the experience will evolve and get even better over time. We’ll deliver new features when they’re ready, not waiting for the next major release. We think of Windows as a Service — in fact, one could reasonably think of Windows in the next couple of years as one of the largest Internet services on the planet.

Furthermore, the notion of asking “What version are you on?” will cease to make sense, since there will be just one version of Windows 10 that works on various form factors (including PCs, tablets, smartphones, Xbox, and the Internet of Things). This is great for businesses and consumers, but it should be particularly helpful for developers that will target the new platform.

We’ve now heard the enterprise story (in September) and the consumer story (today). The developer story remains — Microsoft plans to share more about what Windows 10 means for developers at its Build conference in late April.

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