Microsoft Does Good: Windows 7 Upgrade Program

windows-7A lot is being made of the leaked Best Buy memo that outlines Microsoft’s Windows 7 upgrade program. It looks very good, but some of the story doesn’t seem to be getting out, so I’ll add my $.02.

Keep in mind that the Best Buy memo has not been confirmed. I think it’s reasonable, so I’m proceeding from the notion it does in fact outline some of Microsoft’s plans for Windows 7 upgrades.

New PCs

It was obvious to anyone whose been there that a line would be drawn on the calendar by Microsoft after which buying a new PC would entitle you to a free upgrade to the new OS. Typically, that line is drawn maybe a couple months before release, so I was expecting it to be around late August.

The problem is, that would bypass the back to school season. Most PCs for back to school are not bought at the last minute — in September — they’re bought over the Summer. By setting the cutoff date to June 26, with one brilliant stroke Microsoft has eliminated, as much as possible, any effect waiting for Windows 7 may have had on a back to school purchase.

Yes, this means MS is giving away free Windows 7’s for four entire months of PC sales, but with Vista’s bad reputation it was a great bone to throw new student shoppers, especially with the economy as it is. Very smart. Microsoft clearly means business with Windows 7.


For those who already have a qualifying Vista version, Microsoft is making available on the same date (6/26) a “presell” of Windows 7. It’s only $49 for the upgrade to 7 Home Premium, and $99 for Professional. Sweet.

If you have a qualifying Vista release, in my opinion it’s an absolute no-brainer to spend the $49 or $99 for the upgrade. Run, don’t walk to your nearest dealer and get this!

The bad news about the “presell” is that it’s only until July 11. Just 16 days. Don’t delay on this, get it while you can.

Not Just Best Buy

The memo makes it clear this isn’t just be a Best Buy gig: “Other retailers will also offer the presell…”. So you should be able to find a local dealer or online outlet to take advantage of the upgrade offerings.

What About XP?

The memo doesn’t really make it clear. While the PC guarantee is Vista only (pretty much all new PCs come with a Vista license anyway), I’m not sure about the “presell”.

I know Microsoft is making available “upgrades” from XP to Windows 7 (though a clean install must be performed, Windows 7 won’t upgrade XP “in place”), but I’ve heard nothing about pricing. I’m not sure what will be in store for XP users (like me) in terms of “upgrade” pricing.

Microsoft may feel you used XP up to eight years; you got your money’s worth, so they don’t owe you much in terms of a price break. They may also feel the “presell” offer is a way to potentially reward Vista users who suffered through that OS (whether they actually suffered or not). In a way, I can see either point. I think we’ll have to wait to see what, if anything, Microsoft will do in terms of price breaks for XP “upgrades” to Windows 7.

Bottom Line

XP aside, the new PC guarantee is great news no matter how you analyze it. So is the “presell” for savvy Vista shoppers who know about the limited availability and snap it up in time.

These moves are bold enough for me to hope Microsoft opens themselves up for those 16 days and lets XP users in on the “presell” too, but I’ll have to see confirmation on that.

If XP is not included, well, that’s roughly two-thirds of Windows’ installed base. Let’s hope Microsoft finds a way to treat us right, and not simply use us to fund the excellent Vista upgrade offers.

1 thought on “Microsoft Does Good: Windows 7 Upgrade Program

  1. Hi Tom,
    Nice to see articles on you own site again. Furthermore, kudos for this very nuanced microsoft related entry,

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