While Microsoft has not officially announced the details surrounding its Windows Upgrade Option program, several PC vendors and sellers have recently spilled the beans in regards to individual plans. Of course, offers will vary by reseller and vendor, however three Taiwanese PC makers of late came forth and said that they will provide a free Windows 7 upgrade coupon for anyone who purchases a new laptop or desktop with Vista Home Premium, Vista Ultimate, or Vista Business pre-installed. Best Buy outlines a similar program in an internal memo leaked last week, however it's free upgrade plan was listed to expire after October 22.
According to PCWorld, customers who obtain the "golden ticket" will have access to download information printed on the coupon. Once the new operating system goes retail this Fall, the new owners will be able to download Windows 7 directly from a special Microsoft website; the company will also send a hard disk copy to the owner via mail. Each coupon will reportedly set vendors back between $9 and $15 per PC, according to Taiwanese executives.
Although Windows 7 doesn't officially hit the market until October 22, the program--set to kick off on June 26-- is to stimulate potential customers into purchasing a new PC before the Windows 7 launch. The upgrade coupons will supposedly expire after January 31, 2010, more than three months after Best Buy's unannounced plan. Many businesses fear that PC sales will drop over the summer due to potential customers waiting for the release of Windows 7, hence the creation of special upgrade offers.
But not every vendor is gung-ho over the upgrade program. In fact, one Taiwanese executive expressed his concern that the program will actually hurt the sales of netbooks, as these smaller, cheaper devices come pre-loaded with Windows XP, not Vista. Unfortunately, consumers purchasing a new netbook with Windows XP will not be offered an upgrade coupon.
Although no specifics have been released, currently many companies will offer Windows 7 upgrade programs including Hewlett_Packard, Acer, Asustek Computer, Gigabyte, and more. However, Tsinghua Tongfang, a Chinese PC maker, has declined to participate in the upgrade program, as its machines featuring eligible version of Vista are extremely limited.