Microsoft is preparing to release the newest and most significant upgrade to its Windows operating system since Windows 95, Windows 8. Usually a new Windows release no matter how exciting the improvements, brings up the issue of the cost of Windows (and software in general), in developing countries like Ghana.
With Windows 8, Microsoft is drastically changing pricing for upgrades. Announcing on the Windows Team Blog, Microsoft has pegged the price for Windows 8 Pro upgrades at $39.99 (slightly less than GH₵ 80.00, on July 6). Compare this to the upgrade costs for Windows 7, which was $49 for the Home Premium version and $99 for the Professional version.
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.
As noted with the comparison with Windows 7, this pricing is even more extraordinary because it is for the highest consumer retail version, Windows 8 Pro. Windows 8 comes in two consumer retail editions, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro, with Windows 8 Pro including additions for tech enthusiasts and IT professionals. This pricing essentially gives all consumers the opportunity to upgrade to the highest consumer edition for only $39.99.
Some pundits and journalists who cover Microsoft believe that Microsoft is fixing two problems with this upgrade offer. Microsoft really sees Windows 8 as its future and wants consumers, especially those still on XP to upgrade. They also probably opted to make the upgrade path to Windows 8 Pro not plain Windows 8, because of Windows Media Center.
In Windows 8, Microsoft wants to kill off Media Center and will offer it as a paid add-on for Windows 8 Pro only. Windows 8, will not support Media Center. This upgrade essentially ensures that anyone who would have complained about losing Windows Media Center is afforded an easy and free way to get it via this Windows 8 Pro upgrade offer.
With this upgrade Microsoft is providing incentives for die hard fans of Windows Media Center to upgrade early. Consumers who opt for this upgrade offer will also get Windows Media Center for free.
There are a few caveats though. This pricing is an introductory offer and ends on January 31, 2013. With a general belief that Windows 8 will ship late October or early November, there is about a 3 month early upgrade window. It provides an upgrade path from Windows XP SP3, Vista (All Consumer Versions) and Windows 7 (All Consumer Versions) to Windows 8 Pro. Again noted Microsoft journalists suspect Microsoft will extend this offer, to gain more consumer goodwill in 2013.
The starting price of $39.99 for Windows 8 Pro upgrades is for digital downloads and upgrades via the Windows website with physical media discs (DVDs) costing $70.00. There is also an option to get a backup disc for $15.00 plus shipping costs, which I doubt will interest anyone in Ghana taking advantage of this offer.
Whatever the reason Microsoft really has for the upgrade price, I welcome it and have my Visa cards ready to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro. Unless of course Microsoft messes up and refuses my cards at which point, I will have a long rant and point to this post on Media Piracy.