Any version of Windows XP, Vista, or 7 will be eligible for inexpensive upgrade
Say what you will about its touch reforms, and extreme user interface makeover, but Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is at least moving aggressively to give its customers a favorable price point.
To counter Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) $19.99 USD Mountain Lion licensing, Microsoft is offering Windows 8 "Pro" for only $39.99 USD via download. A DVD version will be available for $69.99 USD (that's one expensive disc). Clearly Microsoft is trying to funnel customers to its online process, which it hopes will lead to a more pain-free and automated installation.
We believe that your upgrade experience in Windows 8 will be a breeze by offering a faster experience, a single upgrade path, and compatibility from prior versions of Windows. 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. And if you’re an enthusiast you will have the flexibility to download and control how you upgrade.
Somewhat strangely Microsoft is offering customers who purchase the download the option to purchase a backup DVD for $15. In other words you can order the download and get a DVD via the backup option for $54.99 USD, or pay $15 USD extra to buy it in store.
It seems a bit counterintuitive, to say the least.
Of course if you want to snag a download or disc install be sure to first check that your hardware is capable of running Windows 8. To test that you can grab Microsoft's Release Preview of Windows 8 from here, which comes with a test-phase build of the upgrade assitant.
Windows Team engineer Brandon LeBlanc writes Microsoft is continuing to "drive toward the RTM milestone."
Source: Windows Team Blog
[Submitted by Christo [PCD]
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