Will a $40 upgrade price get Windows 8 to take off?

By Kip Kniskern | In News | Posted July 2, 2012 54 comments

windows-8-logoToday, our old friend Brandon LeBlanc took to the Windows Team blog to announce pricing for upgrade versions of Windows 8, and while they’re not quite in the free or $29 upgrade class of an Apple upgrade, they’re quite cheap for Microsoft: $39 to upgrade your existing installation of Windows XP, Vista, or 7 (In comparison, an upgrade copy of Windows 7 Home Premium is available now in the US on Amazon for $98).  Brandon writes:

Starting at general availability, if your PC is running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 you will qualify to download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99 in 131 markets. And if you want, you can add Windows Media Center for free through the “add features” option within Windows 8 Pro after your upgrade.

Now, your PC will have to run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, and we can imagine that some old warhorse XP installations may have trouble getting the proper drivers, but Microsoft seems to have listened to the feedback and tried to make it as easy as possible to get a bunch of people on Windows 8 early.  Some highlights of what we know so far:

  • For $39, you can upgrade your XP, Vista, or Windows 7 machine via download
  • Available in 131 countries
  • The upgrade is for Windows 8 Pro, and you can choose to install Windows Media Center for free
  • A “shrinkwrap” copy of Windows 8 Pro upgrade will also be available, for $69
  • Earlier, Microsoft announced that new Windows 7 computers sold after June 2 will be eligible for a $14.99 upgrade, once Windows 8 ships
  • Both offers will end January 31, 2013
  • A “System Builder” copy will also be available for installing a fresh copy on, say, a new home-built computer (no price was given for this option)

While this aggressive pricing may be surprising when you look at the cost of previous Windows upgrades, Microsoft needs to get Windows 8 in as many hands as possible, as early as possible, to ensure the success not only of Windows 8 but of the Windows 8 App Marketplace.  As much as it would like to, Microsoft can’t lean on Windows Phone to drive sales, and while the newly announced Microsoft Surface looks interesting, it’s going to depend a lot on price, too.

Microsoft has already said that only a very few users bother with Media Center, so the “free” inclusion in this offer is more a play to get out of paying license fees for those that will never touch Media Center, rather than an incentive to move to Windows 8.  And one of the prime drivers for the Apple ecosystem, proprietary content (read: your iTunes purchases) has never been duplicated by Microsoft, as many times as they’ve tried: with MSN Music, Zune, and even now with the vaporware that, so far, at least,  is Xbox Music.

We’re still waiting on a “killer” Windows 8 app (or a suite of them), too.  So far what we’ve seen are not-as-good versions of what’s already available on Windows 7, and while we’re sure we’re going to be seeing a whole slew of tablet sized fart apps, Windows 8 is going to need something big to prove the worth of this new OS.

So with no phone, content, or killer apps to drive Windows 8 sales, Microsoft needs to go cheap, and hope it comes out ok in the end.  If it all works, and we end up with a Marketplace full of apps, an Xbox full of tunes and video, and a phone and a Surface and a desktop all running Windows 8, Microsoft will have hit that big bet they’ve been making.  If not?  Well that’s why we’re here, either way it will be fun to find out!

Is $39 the right price point for Windows 8?  Is it cheap enough that people will take a flyer on an unproven system with no killer apps?  Will it drive sales of Surface, and Windows Phone?  Will sales of the Surface, and a new set of Windows Phones, drive sales and adoption of Windows 8?  Microsoft certainly hopes so, what do you think?

Posted July 2nd, 2012 at 1:38 pm
Category: News
Tags: Windows 8
  • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

    Can we get this deal if we’re running the Windows 8 Release Preview? Or will we have to pay more, or install Windows 7 again? Microsoft want us to test the products, but making people who’ve done that pay more doesn’t really make sense.

    • http://www.facebook.com/QuocCao Quoc Cao

      No! Windows 8 (developer, consumer, release preview) is for testing only and it’s voluntary! Microsoft didn’t force you to test or promise to offer a deal for testers. If you want to upgrade with this price you need to re-install Windows Xp, Vista, or Seven on your machine before upgrading to Windows 8.

      • gerryrivers86

        so glad you said this, LOVE IT

      • NazmusLabs

        Yes, you can upgrade directly from the release preview with this offer only of you upgraded to the release preview from your previous windows version. This is according to Microsoft.

    • cuz84d

       maybe if you can prove you own an existing windows license install.

  • http://alexsimkin.tumblr.com/ Alex Simkin

    Can we get this deal if we’re running the Windows 8 Release Preview? Or will we have to pay more, or install Windows 7 again? Microsoft want us to test the products, but making people who’ve done that pay more doesn’t really make sense.

    • Quoc Cao

      No! Windows 8 (developer, consumer, release preview) is for testing only and it’s voluntary! Microsoft didn’t force you to test or promise to offer a deal for testers. If you want to upgrade with this price you need to re-install Windows Xp, Vista, or Seven on your machine before upgrading to Windows 8.

      • gerryrivers86

        so glad you said this, LOVE IT

      • NazmusLabs

        Yes, you can upgrade directly from the release preview with this offer only of you upgraded to the release preview from your previous windows version. This is according to Microsoft.

      • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

        They should still reward you for testing though. It is just the nice thing to do.

    • wizkid

       maybe if you can prove you own an existing windows license install.

  • JSYOUNG571

    Will a $40 upgrade price get Windows 8 to take off? 

    NO!

    • Asgardi

      Why not? Windows 8 = Windows 7 + Metro + image mounting + improved bit locker + faster everything + new hardware capabilities + sync + cloud + …

      In my opinion you get quite much great stuff for just $40. I think you will feel stupid after a couple of years if you did not use this deal.

      • Ancalagon

        Sorry, but I agree with JSYOUNG571. I tried Windows 8 and absolutely hated it. It doesn’t matter if it was free; I wouldn’t “upgrade”. 

        Hopefully, Microsoft realizes Metro is stupid on the desktop and keeps it on phones and tablets where it makes sense. Until then, I’ll stick with Windows 7.

  • JSYOUNG571

    Will a $40 upgrade price get Windows 8 to take off? 

    NO!

    • Asgardi

      Why not? Windows 8 = Windows 7 + Metro + image mounting + improved bit locker + faster everything + new hardware capabilities + sync + cloud + …

      In my opinion you get quite much great stuff for just $40. I think you will feel stupid after a couple of years if you did not use this deal.

      • Ancalagon

        Sorry, but I agree with JSYOUNG571. I tried Windows 8 and absolutely hated it. It doesn’t matter if it was free; I wouldn’t “upgrade”. 

        Hopefully, Microsoft realizes Metro is stupid on the desktop and keeps it on phones and tablets where it makes sense. Until then, I’ll stick with Windows 7.

  • Gle Ban

    i thought i just read that window 7 was the only one that can be upgraded to windows 8. 

  • Gle Ban

    i thought i just read that window 7 was the only one that can be upgraded to windows 8. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/ian.easson.1 Ian Easson

    Yup.

    I planned to upgrade to Windows 8 anyway, so this offer just makes things sweeter.

  • Ian Easson

    Yup.

    I planned to upgrade to Windows 8 anyway, so this offer just makes things sweeter.

  • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

    It sounds tempting. The one probable fly in the ointment for me is that although I live in The Netherlands, I prefer to run the US-English versions of Windows. I’m just wondering whether Microsoft will provide multiple language versions in their 131 marketplaces, or just provide one – the country language for each marketplace…

    • remco8264

      I think that the Web Installer automatically downloads the language you’re using, so if you’re using an English version of Windows XP/Vista/7 you’ll get an English version of Windows 8. But I’m not certain about that.

      But, in Windows 8 Pro, you can download and install language packs for free via the control panel. So, should you only be able to purchase the Dutch version, you can still download the English language pack after installation.

      And just out of curiosity, why do you prefer the English version over the Dutch version (I’m Dutch also)? Because of the Dutch translations?

      • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

        Why do I prefer the English version? Because for most of my 63 year life I’ve been speaking English. I’m British by birth, and have only had Dutch nationality since 2006. I still find Dutch a difficult language…

        • remco8264

          Ah, I see. Thanks for the clarification.

  • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

    It sounds tempting. The one probable fly in the ointment for me is that although I live in The Netherlands, I prefer to run the US-English versions of Windows. I’m just wondering whether Microsoft will provide multiple language versions in their 131 marketplaces, or just provide one – the country language for each marketplace…

    • remco8264

      I think that the Web Installer automatically downloads the language you’re using, so if you’re using an English version of Windows XP/Vista/7 you’ll get an English version of Windows 8. But I’m not certain about that.

      But, in Windows 8 Pro, you can download and install language packs for free via the control panel. So, should you only be able to purchase the Dutch version, you can still download the English language pack after installation.

      And just out of curiosity, why do you prefer the English version over the Dutch version (I’m Dutch also)? Because of the Dutch translations?

      • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

        Why do I prefer the English version? Because for most of my 63 year life I’ve been speaking English. I’m British by birth, and have only had Dutch nationality since 2006. I still find Dutch a difficult language…

        • remco8264

          Ah, I see. Thanks for the clarification.

  • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

    Reading Brandon LeBlanc’s blog entry, he does say:

    “We’ve continued to listen to our customers and have expanded the ability to download to over 100 countries and 37 languages. We have simplified the Windows upgrade experience with the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant which supports you during your upgrade with everything from selecting your language to pausing your download to built-in compatibility checks – it’s seamless”.

    So hopefully, I will be able to select my preferred language (not Dutch!) in the Dutch Marketplace… 

  • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

    Reading Brandon LeBlanc’s blog entry, he does say:

    “We’ve continued to listen to our customers and have expanded the ability to download to over 100 countries and 37 languages. We have simplified the Windows upgrade experience with the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant which supports you during your upgrade with everything from selecting your language to pausing your download to built-in compatibility checks – it’s seamless”.

    So hopefully, I will be able to select my preferred language (not Dutch!) in the Dutch Marketplace… 

  • gerryrivers86

    i love this option, it also goes to show that Microsoft doesnt want people to run pirate copies of their system either simply because now its cheaper to upgrade so why bother with pirating

    • NS

      Because they don’t have official license to upgrade from ?

  • gerryrivers86

    i love this option, it also goes to show that Microsoft doesnt want people to run pirate copies of their system either simply because now its cheaper to upgrade so why bother with pirating

    • NS

      Because they don’t have official license to upgrade from ?

  • Mario Albertico

    It certainly makes it a more appealing option. I’m very, very happy with my current Windows 7 setup, so we’ll have to see. What I’ve been wondering though is if this “free” Media Center download is what they were originally discussing as a “small” fee-based add-on?

    • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

      Remember that this offer is only good until January 31, 2013.  After that, Media Center probably won’t be “free”.

      • Mario Albertico

        I suppose it’s a smart way to get all of the Media Center fans to load up on this offer and boost early Windows 8 upgrade sales.

  • Mario Albertico

    It certainly makes it a more appealing option. I’m very, very happy with my current Windows 7 setup, so we’ll have to see. What I’ve been wondering though is if this “free” Media Center download is what they were originally discussing as a “small” fee-based add-on?

    • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

      Remember that this offer is only good until January 31, 2013.  After that, Media Center probably won’t be “free”.

      • Mario Albertico

        I suppose it’s a smart way to get all of the Media Center fans to load up on this offer and boost early Windows 8 upgrade sales.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.vansteenkiste Paul Vansteenkiste

    Long post but here’s what you need to remember. Vista turns into Win8 for 40 bucks. Souns like a good deal to me. Especially cuz some guy gave me a license for free cuz he hates Vista. So in short I get an excellent OS for 40$.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.vansteenkiste Paul Vansteenkiste

    Long post but here’s what you need to remember. Vista turns into Win8 for 40 bucks. Souns like a good deal to me. Especially cuz some guy gave me a license for free cuz he hates Vista. So in short I get an excellent OS for 40$.

  • CustomComputers

    We would not use it if it was free!

    • Breakingillusions

      there is no we here its you if you don’t want to use it then don’t
      personally i will install it in all PC’s in the house

  • CustomComputers

    We would not use it if it was free!

    • Breakingillusions

      there is no we here its you if you don’t want to use it then don’t
      personally i will install it in all PC’s in the house

  • Joe H

    I want to know about the multi-device costs.  Is it going to be $40 per computer, like it’s been in the past?  Or will it be like OS X Lion, where it’s one purchase for effectively all of my computers?  (I believe the number is 10).

  • Joe H

    I want to know about the multi-device costs.  Is it going to be $40 per computer, like it’s been in the past?  Or will it be like OS X Lion, where it’s one purchase for effectively all of my computers?  (I believe the number is 10).

  • Chris

    Not when apple is charging $20 for its upgrade

    http://www.apple.com/osx/

  • Chris

    Not when apple is charging $20 for its upgrade

    http://www.apple.com/osx/

  • http://twitter.com/TimoTim19 Timothy Gamble

    $40 is a dream for most consumers. They only need make a lot of noise to make people aware of the $40 price tag and the quality of the OS will take care of the rest.

  • http://twitter.com/TimoTim19 Timothy Gamble

    $40 is a dream for most consumers. They only need make a lot of noise to make people aware of the $40 price tag and the quality of the OS will take care of the rest.

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    I still think Windows 8 will flop. I’m switching over to Ubuntu anyways.

    @KipKniskern:disqus what happened to Disqus 2012 being here? The comments switched back to the classic Disqus.