Microsoft has announced that consumers will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99 when it is released later this year.
The pricing represents a huge shift for Microsoft which has typically charged $119.99 for an upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium and up to $199 for Windows 7 Professional.
The low-cost update is a boon for consumers, but it also makes sense for Microsoft. By releasing the operating system at a much lower price, Microsoft will entice consumers -- who may otherwise have held off on upgrading their OS until they bought a new computer -- to try out its new Windows Store and ensure its Windows 8 launch is met with great demand.
Apple dramatically reduced its upgrade pricing when it released Mac OS X Lion in 2011 for $29.99. Mac OS X Lion was the first version of the company’s operating system to be released as a digital download from the App Store for Mac. This year Apple has reduced its OS upgrade price again. It will charge $19.90 for an upgrade to Mac OS X Mountain Lion on up to five computers linked to one iTunes account when it is released in July.
The $39.99 Windows 8 Pro upload will be available as a digital download during the initial promotional period which runs from launch through January 31, 2013.
Microsoft said, “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.”
A DVD version of the OS will sell for $69.99 during the promotion.
Microsoft has posted instructions on how to upgrade to Windows 8 on its Windows Blog.