Following up on its promise to offer a $15 upgrade for those new PC owners that buy a PC before Windows 8’s expected launch this Fall, Microsoft has expanded the offering to those with older machines running XP SP3, Vista SP2 and 7 whereby the company will be offering upgrades to Windows 8 Pro for $40, provided machines pass a nominal online hardware check to ensure that the operating system will run without issues. The newly revised tool will also offer suggestions on what exactly to upgrade should the hardware not immediately pass the system check the first time.
With Microsoft getting ready to ramp up its activity on both mobile and desktop fronts with Windows 8/RT and Windows Phone 8, the drastically reduced pricing for upgrades is a sign that the conglomerate is serious about moving every user to some version of Windows 8 as quickly as possible, whether it be by bundling cheap upgrades with current machine sales or offering upgrades to current machine owners with older versions of Windows.
The drastically reduced pricing for Windows 8 also underscores the lessons that Microsoft has learned from Apple in the years preceding Windows 8 and the changes in the industry that essentially forced Microsoft to move away from the model of charging $100+ for multiple versions of Windows, as one of the main reasons that consumers that used Windows PCs that weren’t enthusiasts would refuse to purchase upgrades, due to the high cost of the software compared to Apple’s previous releases for recent versions of OS X, which averaged ~$30.
Now with the reduced pricing and offers for customers to upgrade, what remains to be seen is whether customers will respond to the new pricing and purchase upgrades to 8, as Microsoft now expect to increase sales volume for Windows 8 over 7 by a much larger margin. Both the $15 and $40 upgrade offers will be good until January 31st, 2013, with Microsoft also offering retail copies of Windows 8 for $70 should consumers and enthusiasts prefer a physical disc.