Microsoft Lures Consumers with $40 Windows 8 Upgrade


Image from news.cnet.com

For years, Apple has dominated the consumer electronics market with its clean and simple aesthetic, “cool factor” and easy-to-use software. While Apple’s image pushes hardware into the hands of early adopters, one of its strongest selling points in terms of software is how easily and affordably its operating systems can be updated. Statistics show that 85% of Mac users are running either the newest or the next-to-newest versions of Mac OS, while nearly 50% of all Windows PCs are running Windows XP, which was released eleven years ago. This may be as a result of businesses, which tend to use Windows operating systems, needing a stable OS (Windows XP has been updated to a point where bugs are no longer an issue). But the statistics are still significant considering how few home users are willing to adopt new Microsoft software.

Apple offered upgrades to its new operating system for $30 and will soon offer them for as little as $20. Microsoft, adopting a similar strategy, will charge $40 (as opposed to the $120 it charged for past upgrades) to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro from XP, Vista or 7. While current Windows 7 users will benefit most in terms of setting, file and app compatibility, consumers with older computers may also find the upgrade worthwhile. In tests on a five-year-old Dell Latitude laptop meant for Windows XP, Windows 8 booted up in 16 seconds, meaning Microsoft has trimmed the fat on its usually resource-consuming operating systems.

Microsoft’s move is undoubtedly a smart one as it tries to solidify its place in the mobile market. Windows 8 is optimized for touchscreens, uses a “Metro” interface similar to that of Windows Phone 7 and will run on Microsoft’s new Surface tablet, which launches alongside the operating system. But the most interesting aspect of Windows 8 is its cross-platform compatibility. Apple, especially recently, has added features originating on its mobile OS into the Mac OS and vice-versa. Perfecting this concept, the same version of Windows 8 will run on PCs, tablets, phones and maybe even the next Xbox, facilitating interactions between various devices and providing continuity and ease-of-use for users. Windows 8 apps are written in HTML5 and JavaScript, making it easier for developers to obtain the tools to write them. Combined with Microsoft’s recent push to get developers on its side with contests and more lucrative terms of agreement, this will likely create an App Store on par with Apple’s that will entice early adopters not impressed by the price. Windows 8 will be available this holiday season and the upgrade will be available for download for $39.99 (a physical copy will cost $69.99). Upgraders will receive Windows Media Center for free and those who purchase a Windows 7 PC before January 31st of next year will get the upgrade for only $14.99.

Sources:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57465416-75/windows-8-pro-upgrade-set-for-$39.99-media-center-too/?tag=txt;title
http://money.cnn.com/2012/07/03/technology/windows-8-upgrade/index.htm
http://xapsis.blogspot.com/2012/02/windows-8-cross-platform-nice-for.html

 

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