The next generation of Windows operating systems is nearly upon us, and lots of folks are downloading the recent Windows 8 Release Preview. The months leading up to a new OS are always a bit tricky for Microsoft: they have to release info publicly to build excitment, satisfy investors, and garner media attention - but at the same time that can lead to customers putting computer purchases on hold until the new software is available. If a substantial portion of the consumer base does that it would lead to poor revenue not only for Microsoft but also the companies building and selling computers.
To counter that, Microsoft has announced a program whereby people who purchase a Windows 7 based PC now will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 for a very low price: $14.99. A similar program was put in place a couple years back, during the Vista -> Windows 7 transition, but it required customers to get a physical coupon from the company they purchased from, then redeem it online, and then have the upgrade disc mailed to them. That was a headache for companies, especially since the early documentation from Microsoft wasn't altogether clear on the way it was supposed to work.
This time around Microsoft seems to have learned from the past. The program put in place last week is quite simple:
- Purchase a PC running Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate between 6/2/12 and 1/31/13
- Register for the Windows Upgrade Offer online by 2/28/13
- Once validated, a confirmation is sent to the customer via email
- After Windows 8 is available, another email will be sent with instructions on how to purchase and download the upgrade
- An option will also be available for a physical install disc (DVD), for an extra fee plus shipping
By going this route, Microsoft has avoided putting any burden on computer companies - which is nice for customers as well, since it means they only have to deal directly with Microsoft to redeem the offer. As a bonus, Microsoft is including 90 days of no-charge support with these upgrades (starting at product activation).
For more information on this program, including eligable countries and further details about how and where to register for the upgrade, please see the following links:
Registration Page (coming soon): https://windowsupgradeoffer.com/en-US
Program Info: https://windowsupgradeoffer.com/en-US/Home/ProgramInfo
Program FAQ: https://windowsupgradeoffer.com/en-US/Home/Faq