Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Windows 8 Pro Discount Officially Ended

Well, it's official, you can no longer purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for the discounted price of $39.99. As of February 1, Microsoft has quintupled the price to $199.99. Just upgrading to the standard Windows 8, which doesn't include corporate features like BitLocker encryption and the ability to remotely connect to a company's network, will cost $119.99, though that edition was never discounted.

Upgrading to Windows 8 from an existing Windows operating system, like XP, Vista or 7, comes with varying degrees of success. It should come as no surprise that upgrading from Windows 7 causes the least amount of hassle with bringing along existing files, settings and applications whereas upgrading from XP is a little more difficult.

In addition to the end of the discount, several other deals also ended, including $69.99 prices for Windows 8 Pro on a DVD and something Microsoft was calling Windows 8 Pro Pack, which upgrades Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro. The first upgrade will jump to $199.99 with the latter costing $99.99. Windows 8 Media Center pack, which is an add-on that makes it possible to play CDs and DVDs on a Windows PC, now costs $9.99.

Only one time has Microsoft discussed Windows 8 Pro upgrade numbers. This occurred back in October when CEO Steve Ballmer said his company had sold 4 million copies in its first three days. Since then, Microsoft has declined to give any specific sales numbers, even though the firm's CFO recently cited upgrades as one of several reasons why the Windows division's revenue increased 11% in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Purchasers of the Windows 8 upgrade do not have to install it right away. Instead, they can create a bootable flash drive or installation DVD, then set aside the physical media for a later date. The final offer that recently expired was the eight-month deal that offered a $14.99 upgrade for customers who purchased a Windows 7-powered PC between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013. Those customers have until February 28 to claim the promotional code for the $14.99 price.

Windows 8 has received quite a bit of flak from users who believe that the heavy focus on touch-screen features do not translate well to desktops and laptops without touchscreens. Having used Windows 8 personally, I can honestly say that the new home screen and layout definitely take some getting used to, especially for long-time Windows users, though some of the features that are available are pretty cool and the operating system itself isn't all that bad (though that was at the time of the $39.99 download). I don't know if the operating system (or any, for that matter) is worth $200.