This Microsoft Certified Partner tried to sell me the non-existent Windows 11 [Updated]
Microsoft has previously said that Windows 10 is the last version of Windows. We've talked about Windows 11 concepts here on BetaNews, but that's all they are -- concepts dreamt up by eager designers.
So what was a Microsoft Certified Partner thinking when it popped a pre-order page for Windows 11 on its site? A major update or a new version of Windows is always going to generate a lot of interest -- and probably a lot of money too, particularly with a $174.99 price tag attached. Having stumbled across a site inviting me to "preorder your Windows 11 before anyone else", I decided to investigate and find out what the company had to say for itself. [UPDATED with comments from both Microsoft and the Microsoft Certified Partner]
Now clearly this was a scam. There has never been any suggestion that Windows 11 will ever exist other than in people's imaginations. And yet over on SoftwareKeep, here was a chance to order this very operating system.
SoftwareKeep is -- or at least advertises itself as -- "Your Trusted Microsoft Certified Partner". The page offering "the most comprehensive and modernized OS" (screengrabbed below for posterity) even provided a description and highlights of Windows 11:
Clicking through to the pre-order page (again, screengrabbed below) showed not only a boxshot, but also provided far more details information about the operating system:
Windows 11 is the newest generation of the legendary Windows operating system. The update takes navigating your system to the next level with a new design, new features, and better optimization. Get the most comprehensible, fluent, and modernized operating system on your computer today by purchasing Windows 11 from us.
Microsoft Windows 11 Home introduces a streamlined interface, an appealing look, and a whole bunch of "universal apps"; growing on Metro-style apps. The apps are designed to function across multiple Microsoft product families with closely related identical code—including tablets, PCs, smartphones, Xbox One, embedded systems, Surface Hub, and Mixed Reality. This is only a share of what this operating system can offer to the users in the quickest and hassle-free manner.
Not the right Windows 11 product you were looking for? Check out our selection of additional Microsoft Windows 11 software today.
- Start Menu: Get quick access to frequently used programs and documents. The menu is fully customizable. You can resize it to manage the layout of interactive dynamic Live Tiles tiles.
Hybrid PC support: Windows 11 automatically detects when a device is transferred to another mode of operation and independently optimizes the display to operate in the appropriate mode.
- A new graphic theme. After the Fluent Design which aimed to make Windows more fluid and animated, Microsoft introduces a new clear graphic theme, or Windows Light (see screenshot below).
- Device Guard: Device Guard provides protection against new and unknown versions of malware and constant threats of increased complexity.
- Cortana set back. The voice assistant is decoupled from the Start menu and the search engine of the OS and now integrates directly into the Windows taskbar. "This will allow each experience to benefit from independent innovations to better serve their audience and their use cases," argues Microsoft.
- Improved email client: Quickly connect and share files with the people and groups that matter most. Simplify your life with tools that help you take control of your email and schedule.
These are the minimum system requirements for installing Windows 11.
- Minimum: 1 GHz 32-bit processor, Recommended: 2-GHz 64-bit CPU, at least 2 cores
- Minimum: 1 GHz 64-bit processor, Recommended: 2 GHz 64-bit CPU, at least 2 cores
- Minimum: 1 GB, Recommended: 2 GB
- Minimum: 2 GB, Recommended: 4 GB
- Minimum: DirectX 9-capable graphics card, Recommended: DirectX 11-capable graphics card
- Minimum: DirectX 9-capable graphics card, Recommended: DirectX 11/12-capable graphics card
- Minimum: 16 GB of free memory, Recommended: 50 GB of free memory
- Minimum: 20 GB of free memory, Recommended: 100 GB of free memory
My interest and suspicions piqued, I hopped onto a live chat with a support agent called Emir. A later look at SoftwareKeep's "meet the team" page shows Emir saying of himself "sometimes even I don't know what I'm doing", which wouldn't exactly fill anyone with confidence at the best of times.
I asked Emir how it was possible to offer pre-orders for a non-existent product. He told me:
Please check official Microsoft page for Windows 11 release date and everything will be clear.
When I pointed out that the Microsoft website has no section for Windows 11, he responded:
No official link yet, it will be posted on MS site on July 1, and release date is July 29
I went on to say that Windows 11 is nothing more than a rumor, and that Microsoft is simply going to keep updating Windows 10, but Emir insisted he was "100 percent sure" he was correct, adding:
Mark, we can argue who is right and who is wrong, the best thing is to wait for July 1 and then let's meet here and see who is right and who is wrong.
I suggested that any sensible customer would want to see some evidence that a product is on the horizon before parting with any money. Emir told me:
Since we are chatting here I have contacted our content department and they have informed that this is directly from Microsoft, and they will officially announce it on July 1.
Shortly after the chat came to an end, I received an email from Calvince from SoftwareKeep with the subject line "Unconditional Apology". He wrote:
I hope this email finds you well.
My name is Calvince from Softwarekeep.com. Earlier today, you were on chat with one of our customer service Emir.
I would like to offer our unreserved apology about a product Windows 11" that we got misinformed about.
We have taken all the precautionary measures and removed the product in question from all our sites. The product was on our site for about 11 hours, but through your help, we have realized that such a product will not exist as Microsoft is now focusing on releasing Major updates for Windows 10.
Even hours later, the pages remained accessible. Calvince continued:
I have confirmed with our billing team that no-one had placed an order for this product, and if there's any pre-order that was made as we finalize on the analysis, the client will be refunded.
Once again thank you so much for the valuable information you shared with us.
At softwarekeep, we strive to provide our clients with only GENUINE products, and for this, we are utterly sorry for misleading the community and we do want to thank you for bringing this to our attention.
The email concluded:
If you could please let us know your address we'd like to send you something to thank you for this as we sincerely appreciate it.
Needless to say, I did not provide my address.
What I did do, however, was contact Microsoft to not only alert the company to the fact that sites were trying to fraudulently sell Windows 11, but also to raise awareness of the fact that it was being done by Microsoft Certified Partners. We are still awaiting a response, and will update this story when we hear back from Microsoft.
SoftwareKeep has now not only removed its Windows 11 pre-order option, but also published an apology on its blog. The company blames bad information from its sources, saying: "Our insider source must have misled us that there will be a release of Windows 11, information that has turned out to be FALSE. And we want to confirm to the general public that, Microsoft has not released any official communication regarding Windows 11".
Microsoft has now responded to my request for a comment about the activities of a Microsoft Certified Partner. The company came back with the rather surprising reply: "Microsoft has nothing to share in response".