It's a move that the team from Cupertino has been using for the last several years, and it looks like Microsoft is going to give it a shot. In a post on The Windows Blog (not to be confused with the Building Windows 8 blog), Brandon LeBlanc announces that Microsoft will be doing a Windows 8 upgrade promotion, where upgrades from Windows XP, Vista and 7 to Windows 8 Pro will cost just $39.99.

This reflects a similar move Microsoft made in 2009, where they offered Windows 7 pre-orders at a significant discount.  At the time those upgrades were $50 for Home Premium, $100 for Pro, and $150 for the Home Premium Family pack (3 licenses), meaning Windows 8 pre-order upgrade pricing is significantly better than Windows 7 pre-order upgrade pricing, with Windows 8 Pro going for less than half the price of its predecessor. And while there isn’t a family pack (so far), 3 Pro licenses are still cheaper than the Windows 7 family pack. The catch of course is that just like last time this is a limited time offer; while Microsoft is running this promotion for far longer than the 2 weeks Windows 7's promotion ran for, this one is only going until January 31, 2013. 

Microsoft has also offered a few technical details on the upgrade process. Microsoft will be selling upgrades both in physical packages and digitally from their store, with the latter being the cheaper price. For electronic copies the upgrade process will be done through the use of the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, an installation app that streamlines the download and allows users to customize what they want to retain from their earlier installation. HTPC users will also want to take note that because this upgrade path leads to Windows 8 Pro, and as part of the promotion buyers will have access to Windows Media Center as a free downloadable feature; this allays concerns from the HTPC community that they would need to upgrade to a significantly more expensive version of Windows 7 Pro to access the feature.

On that note, for those of you still on Windows XP, the fact that Microsoft is offering Windows 8 Pro as opposed to Windows 8 (consumer) should be of particular interest. Windows 8 Pro comes with downgrade rights, which allow the owner to legally install older versions of Windows. So for those of you needing to upgrade from XP but still wanting to hang back with Windows 7, this is a de-facto $40 Windows 7 Professional upgrade too.

Now there's no obvious reason why they've made this pricing move. Perhaps it's a move to quell the outcry from users dissatisfied with the UI changes. Perhaps it's a change in pricing philosophy that treats delta updates as lower cost than a complete license; and if that's the case, could we see annual $40 upgrades a la OS X? What is certain, is that once you make this move, it's difficult to move back to a model where loyal customers have to shell out $150 to use your latest software. With any luck, this new frugalness will reach their other high cost moneymaker: Office.

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  • prophet001 - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    ^ lol

    this
    Reply
  • B3an - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    I have RAID-0 SSD's, an i7 @ 4.9GHz and 32GB RAM and i can STILL tell that Win 8 is faster than Win 7.

    Boots, sleep, and shut downs are even quicker, installation is quicker, things feel even more snappier and fluid, video encoding is quicker, and with benchmarks i score higher in almost everything.
    Reply
  • p05esto - Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - link

    Bs.your computer is just hosed. My system is basically instant with every action. Boot is at 6 seconds... Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Friday, July 06, 2012 - link

    Ever the Microsoft apologist.

    All the preview did was convince me that I'm not in any rush to upgrade, even with the low price.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, July 08, 2012 - link

    Aero looks great compared to classic or any other plain vanilla, period, without question, and you'd know that if you ever tried to downgrade from aero to a lesser theme on anyone's computer.

    What we have here with W8 is a downgrade as well.

    I frankly have never seen an uglier and plainer "start screen". It's awful mismatched box sizes and deeply dorked dark pastels color mix anti-pattern is disturbing to a even a well rested mind.

    Intuitive ? NO, the opposite - helter skelter, frustrating, nonsensical and easily forgotten, again, and again, since it makes no sense.

    I believe we have the idiot dopehead's deranged interface of stupidity for the new century. My God it's ugly.
    Reply
  • dananski - Monday, July 02, 2012 - link

    Any idea if their non-upgrade licences are similarly reduced? If Windows 8 wants to be a competitive tablet OS, it'll have to sell licences for less than before, since the old prices were as much as some tablets. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    Agree that this is their desperate attempt to keep Windows 8 from tanking badly. I mean, they'll get the sales, but how many will be people who'll use Windows 8 and how many (like me)'ll just use this as a chance to upgrade every computer to Windows 7?

    Because retrograde licensing for $40 is awesome. Windows 8, however, is not.
    Reply
  • betam4x - Monday, July 02, 2012 - link

    It's nothing to do with the Metro UI. Microsoft has a vested interest in keeping Windows 8 prices as low as possible in order to get everyone to upgrade. Once everyone is on Windows 8 Microsoft will make all of it's money back via the Windows Store. Reply
  • m2geek - Monday, July 02, 2012 - link

    Been playing around with Beta Builds, and the RCs and initially I was like DAFAQ /recoil in horror at MetroUI but it does grow on you and as for no start menu, when was the last time you actually USED it? I think I only Ever use it cos its a easy way to get to a search box (windows key then start typing lol).

    Everything I use reguarly is pinned to the taskbar - because thats the whole point of the OS X Dock Wannabe Taskbar.

    I much prefer the Windows 8 Window decorations and the Ribbon on Explorer - bout bloody time.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, July 02, 2012 - link

    "When was the last time you actually USED it?"

    About 2 minutes ago.
    Reply

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