Software giant Microsoft announced late Monday that it will allow users of Windows XP, Vista or 7 to upgrade to the newest version of the operating system for just $40, far less than upgrades to previous versions of Windows. For example, a visit to Microsoft's online store showed that upgrading to 7 from previous versions costs $120, and upgrading from one version of 7 to another carries a price tag of $65 or more, depending on which versions. Microsoft did not say how much it would charge for a ful copy of Windows 8, or when it would be available in stores.
The $40 upgrade price for Windows 8, a spokesman for Microsoft said, is a promotional rate that will only be available through January, and is only available for users that upgrade via an online download. For those wanting to upgrade with a disc, a DVD version will be available in stores for $70. The concept of heavily discounting an upgrade to the latest version of an OS worked very well for Apple, who charged just $29 to upgrade for the last two version of Mac OS, and will charge just $20 to upgrade to the next version, dubbed Mountain Lion. According to industry trackers, more than 84 percent of Mac users are using one of the previous two versions.
Many Windows users are hesitant to upgrade when a new version comes out, because newer versions usually take up much more resources and bog down older systems designed for older versions. But, according to tech insiders who have already tried out the beta version of Windows 8, the newest Microsoft offering is an exception. One tech writer tested out the new OS on a five year-old PC designed for XP, and reported it booted up in just 16 seconds and ran smoothly under normal application loads.