Microsoft's new Windows 8 is now just weeks away from its Oct. 26 debut, but the company has begun telling users not to put off buying their next PC. Anyone who purchases a Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012, and Jan. 31, 2013, can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 the company has announced. (The price varies slightly across the 140 countries the offer is valid in.)
"The promotional price is limited to one upgrade per qualified PC purchased, and a maximum limit of five upgrade offers per customer," Microsoft said on a site explaining the terms of the offer.
Qualified PCs are those purchased during the above period with a valid Windows 7 OEM Certificate of Authenticity and product key for, and preinstalled with, Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate.
Other common questions about the Windows 8 upgrade offer can be answered at this Website.
Of course, if consumers imagined their patience would be rewarded Oct. 26, they can know that certainly their curiosity will be. A number of Microsoft partners will use the launch of Windows 8 to announce their own new PCs and tablets. A few have jumped the queue already, introducing Windows 8-optimized devices running Windows 7 for the time being-Fujitsu's new Lifebook convertible tablets and Stylistic hybrid tablet come to mind.
But certainly Microsoft itself has been the most audacious line jumper. At a June 18 event, it introduced the Surface, a Windows 8-running tablet that will compete against those of its partners-who have been varying degrees of vocal about the device. (Endpoint Technologies analyst Roger Kay told eWEEK that at least one Microsoft partner only learned about the device hours before Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer introduced it.)
The Surface, with its kickstand and cover that doubles as a keyboard, stands pleasantly apart from the iPad, and since its introduction, Microsoft has continued to pleasantly surprise, gradually but effectively separating itself from the stereotype of the dullard to Apple's cool kid.
The company has announced that it plans to open "pop-up" stores-a concept made popular by trendy taste-makers-this holiday season to complement its Surface sales campaign.
It's also rumored that Microsoft plans to go the route of Google and Amazon and offer a $199 version of the Surface running Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 for consumers instead of enterprise users. While they likely wouldn't see a dime of profit on the hardware side, it would encourage consumer buy-in for the brand and bode well for software profits over the long term.
For those Microsoft enthusiasts who bought new Windows 7 PCs before June 2, all isn't lost, Brandon LeBlanc shared on the Windows Blog Aug 20. They're eligible for an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99. Beginning Oct. 26, Microsoft will send out emails with promotional codes and instructions about the online upgrade process.