Buyers of Windows 7-based PCs will, from next month, receive a voucher to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $15, say sources.
Users looking to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 could do so for the bargain-basement price of $14.99, according to sources close to the company.
Although as-yet unconfirmed by Microsoft itself, company watcher Paul Thurrott
claims that Microsoft is looking to drive adoption of its next-generation platform with a cut-price upgrade offer of just $14.99 (around £9.33 excluding taxes.)
Under the time-limited offer, buyers of PCs running any version of Windows 7 will be given the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro on release. The offer is expected to launch in June, and run until the channel inventory of Windows 7-based PCs is depleted.
Sadly, the offer comes with a rather major caveat: in order to take advantage of the upgrade pricing, users will need to buy a PC with a Windows 8 upgrade voucher in the box. If you already own a Windows 7-based PC, purchased before the upgrade programme began, you'll be paying full retail for your upgrade.
It's also a major departure from the company's previous upgrade programmes, which saw buyers of PCs running last-generation operating systems given a free upgrade to the closest-available equivalent in the next generation.
While the new upgrade programme will see users expected to pay - albeit a token amount - at least they're getting a real upgrade for their money: users buying PCs on the Windows 7 Home Basic release will be upgraded to the full-fat Windows 8 Pro, unlike the previous like-for-like free upgrade offer.
Microsoft has yet to confirm the upgrade offer as genuine, but it makes sense: unlike previous Windows releases, Windows 8 will be available in but two mainstream versions - Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro - making a like-for-like upgrade offer harder to achieve.
The UK pricing of the offer is likely to be announced early next month, as PC makers begin bundling the voucher with their wares.