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Microsoft Jacks Up Windows 8 Upgrade Prices

On the heels of "good momentum with Windows 8," Microsoft will start charging much higher upgrade prices effective Feb. 1.

Windows 8: 8 Big Benefits For SMBs
Windows 8: 8 Big Benefits For SMBs
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
If you've been fence sitting on a Windows 8 upgrade, it's time to get a move on. Microsoft announced on Friday that it will end its aggressive upgrade offers on Jan. 31.

The current deals include a $39.99 online upgrade to Windows 8 Pro from most recent versions of the operating system, including Windows XP (Service Pack 3), Windows Vista and Windows 7. Starting Feb. 1, the same upgrade will run you $199.99 -- five times the current price. The current $69.99 price tag on a Windows 8 upgrade DVD will also jump, to $199.99.

"We are seeing good momentum with Windows 8 today," said Microsoft communications manager Brandon LeBlanc in a blog post announcing the new pricing.

[ Windows 8's hard climb has added to the PC industry's woes. Read What PC Makers Must Do Now. ]

The company recently said it has sold 60 million licenses for Windows 8, which was made generally available last October. Windows executive Tami Reller said at CES that number puts Windows 8 "roughly in line with where we would have been with Windows 7" in a similar timeframe. Windows 7 has sold more than 630 million licenses worldwide, and it eventually eclipsed Windows XP as the most popular OS ever. Reller made a related announcement back in November, telling the audience at the Credit Suisse 2012 Annual Technology Conference that Windows 8 upgrades were outpacing Windows 7 upgrades in a comparable time period.

In spite of Microsoft's self-reported sales figures for Windows 8, analysts have been less enthusiastic.

Although it would have been naive to expect Microsoft's bargain pricing to last forever, the imminent hike certainly seems like an indication of confidence in Windows 8 -- or at least an attempt to goose sales during the remainder of January. The cynic might note, too, Microsoft's choice to announce the end of its upgrade offers on a Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend. The new online upgrade price represents a 500% price spike for existing PC users. At $200, consumers in particular might be better served simply buying a new machine.

Speaking of which: Recent Windows 7 PC buyers will get a bit more time to decide whether to move up to Windows 8 on the cheap. Microsoft's Windows Upgrade Offer enables anyone who purchases a Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012 and Jan. 31, 2013, to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99. Those customers will have until Feb. 28 to register for the deal.

Windows 8 Pro Pack, which allows customers who purchase a base Windows 8 PC model to move up to the Pro edition for $69.99, will cost $99.99 as of Feb. 1. The Windows 8 Media Center Pack, currently available free of charge, will cost $9.99.

The early comments on Microsoft's blog post, many of them from self-proclaimed Windows 8 fans, were mostly a mix a bewilderment and pessimism. "I love Windows 8, but this pricing is going [to] be way too high to convince people to upgrade," wrote Ds2600.

Poster threecleartones was a bit more blunt: "I also love Windows 8, so it saddens me that what's going to kill it is the horrible marketing and messaging around it. First of all, nobody's going to pay $200 for it." She added that Microsoft wasn't doing enough to distinguish between the entry-level version of Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.

The coming price hike didn't sit well with GoodThings2Life, either, who noted that a five-fold increase won't do much to convince existing Windows 7 or XP users to make the leap. "I think this is a very big mistake for Microsoft to make. I'm a huge advocate of Windows 8." GoodThings2Life said that he is running the OS on a laptop and also owns a Surface RT tablet, with plans to add a Surface Pro, too. But he has found that when he tries to convince others of Windows 8's merits, the sermon falls on deaf ears -- and that was with the door-buster prices.

"Telling them something they don't need [or] want is going to cost $200 instead of $40 is going to really kill the incentive," he said. "I really wish you guys would reconsider."

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Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2013 | 4:04:56 AM
re: Microsoft Jacks Up Windows 8 Upgrade Prices
That may be true (about the 2 years behind) for smaller businesses - I did my first Win7 migration in mid-2010 and was working on a contract for another Win7 migration for the first 4+ months of 2012 at a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company.

The problem with the logic here - why do the same thing twice - is what's in the enterprise application portfolio? When you have over 16,000 applications floating around in a 5,000 user enterprise and just over 50% of them are compatible with Windows 7... you have a serious problem. Organizations have to go through and either internally certify that their apps work on the new platform, or wait for their software provider to recode and recertify for the new platform. Not everyone slaps a copy of Office on top of Windows and calls it good.

Who knows, maybe Microsoft needs the expected influx in revenue to cover the Windows Phone 8 thing... or build up some cash for their involvement with Dell.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
jimbo0117
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jimbo0117,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/22/2013 | 9:31:14 PM
re: Microsoft Jacks Up Windows 8 Upgrade Prices
I'm not sure why this is so surprising. Microsoft advertised the bargain basement upgrade price as short term from the beginning.

Just something else that the MS haters will try to blow our of proportion.
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
1/22/2013 | 9:17:05 PM
re: Microsoft Jacks Up Windows 8 Upgrade Prices
If you are just now starting a Win 7 rollout, you are about 2 years behind. Just skip from XP to Windows 8. Why do the same think twice?
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
1/22/2013 | 9:16:05 PM
re: Microsoft Jacks Up Windows 8 Upgrade Prices
The equipment you are touting is OK for a consumer, but not going to cut it with a business user, or a home user needing access to the corporate network (you wont get support from your IT staff). Get a new real PC or laptop with Windows 8 and learn how to use it...it is really very easy and not difficult to transition if you stop listening to the pundits spewing their crap. I still like Win 7 and XP, but have put them to rest at home and will do the same at work in the next 60 days.
PJS880
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PJS880,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/21/2013 | 11:58:15 PM
re: Microsoft Jacks Up Windows 8 Upgrade Prices
That is crazy, Microsoft really doesnGÇÖt want those old systems out there anymore uh? I know several organizations that have just hit dates for implementing Windows 7 still. I run Windows 8 on my Mac for those specific applications and tools that I use that are not available through my mac. I can tell you this if I had to pay $200 for Windows 8 I would not be running Windows 8.

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
ggiese87101
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ggiese87101,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/21/2013 | 2:21:53 AM
re: Microsoft Jacks Up Windows 8 Upgrade Prices
Just because they raise their prices to Apple-like levels doesn't mean anyone is suddenly going to want their OS more, even with "good momentum". Microsoft, you're going the wrong way, and pricing yourself out of the market. The good old days are gone, get with the new program. Do you realize I can now buy an Android 4.x MiniPC w/HDMI and a 20" display (or just use it on my HDTV) on Amazon for the same price as a "as of Feb 1" Windows 8 upgrade? Or I could get a ChromeBox with ChromeOS for $99 (once it's back in stock). Both of them let me write documents, do spreadsheets and presentations, browse the web, manage and edit pictures/videos, and play games. What would that Windows 8 "upgrade" do for me, other than attempt to get me to spend money on Metro (er, "Modern") apps? Microsoft, I have no clue why you want me to buy Windows 8, much less a Windows 8 upgrade, other than to make you more money. What's in it for me? Or (this being Information Week, you know) for my business? I don't see any ROI when there's so many other good choices out there (including older Windows versions), and the other guys are getting better, faster. Microsoft, I recommend you make your OS a "loss leader" in order to get your market share back (oh, you didn't realize you've lost a bunch and about to your own "fiscal cliff"? ouch) and take a cut of the pie in the apps department. Hmm, that would mean making apps that matter, other than Office (you want me to spend HOW MUCH on Office? Argh!). <sigh> At least you haven't messed up Xbox (yet)...</sigh>
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