Windows 8 cut-price offers coming to a close

January 21, 2013 // 10:24 a.m.

Tags: #apple #hp #microsoft #operating-system #os-x #windows #windows-8 #windows-rt #windows-upgrade

Microsoft has warned those who have not yet taken the plunge and upgraded to Windows 8 from an earlier release that their chance to do so at bargain-basement prices is coming to a close, with the cost of an update licence due to climb to 500 per cent of the current price at the end of the month.

Currently, it's possible to upgrade to Windows 8 for just £14.99 if you bought a new Windows 7 desktop or laptop after the 2nd of June 2012. For those who want to upgrade existing systems that don't meet that requirement Microsoft is charging a reasonable £25 for the download-only version of Windows 8 Pro, valid for users of Windows XP or newer. Non-upgrade releases and physical media copies, naturally, cost significantly more - but with most machines coming with a Windows licence attached, the vast majority of the computing populace can upgrade cheaply should they so choose.

At least, they can if they do so by the end of the month - after which the cost to upgrade to Windows 8, the divisive touch-centric operating system which may have been to blame for ending a man's career, takes a significant upward turn.

Starting in February, the cost of a Windows 8 Pro upgrade package in the US will jump from $39.99 as a digital download to a whopping $199.99, while those opting for the less-capable Windows 8 'standard' release will be expected to pay $119.99 - plus a further $99.99 if they change their mind at a later date and want to unlock the features of Pro. The Media Centre Pack, meanwhile, will cost $9.99 to add back functionality, including DVD playback, that exists in prior versions of Windows - a small price, to be sure, but infinitely larger than its current price of 'free.'

Microsoft has always been upfront about the fact that its cut-price offers on Windows 8 upgrades would be coming to a close in Feburary, but the company's recently-released pricing shows a stark contrast between the company's approach and that of rival Apple which charges a mere $19.99 to upgrade to the latest version of its OS X operating system.

Thus far, Microsoft has not released post-offer pricing for the UK, but should it follow the same leap as the US price buyers can expect to see the £25 upgrade cost to Windows 8 Pro hit at least £125. While that's in-line with previous Windows releases, it will still come as a disappointment to those who had thought Microsoft might be reconsidering the high pricing of its operating system products - particularly in the face of reports from the like of HP's executive Vice President Todd Bradley, who told Bloomberg that Windows 8 has experienced 'a slower start than many people expected.'
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