Microsoft doesn't want hardware sales dropping in the run up to Windows 8 launch.
The official Windows 8 launch is widely rumored to be scheduled for October. However, with its new OS due in less than six months, Microsoft wants to make sure customers don't hold off on purchasing computers in the mean time. As a solution, Paul Thurrott reports that Microsoft is offering those that purchase a Windows 7 laptop in the run up to the launch an upgrade to Windows 8 for just $15.
This isn't anything new for Microsoft -- the company has offered a similar promotion for previous iterations of Windows in an effort to keep PC sales steady and Mary Jo Foley reported last week that Redmond was preparing to make the same offer for Windows 8. However, there is a difference this year: Thurrott is reporting that Microsoft's upgrade will cost $15. What's more, it is for Windows 8 Pro, and not plain old Windows 8.
Microsoft hasn't formally announced the offer, which will reportedly come into play for machines purchased after June 2, so it's hard to know why the company is offering an upgrade for Windows 8 Pro for $15 instead of an upgrade to Windows 8 for free. It could be because the entry-level version of Windows 8 skips out on Windows Media Center, among other things. It's possible Microsoft knows that people running Windows 7 will expect to have the same features when they upgrade to the newer version of the OS and is therefore offering an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $15 as opposed to a free upgrade that will take away features they had just gotten accustomed to using.
The timing of the deal is thought to coincide with the Release Preview, which is due in the beginning of June. We'll keep you posted on any official announcement.