Alongside the release of Windows 8 Release Preview, Microsoft confirmed that consumers will be able to upgrade to the new OS for a mere $14.99. News of the upgrade surfaced last month, reporting that the upgrade will apply to consumers who purchase a new Windows 7 desktop or laptop after a specific date. Even more, the upgrade will be for Windows 8 Pro, and not for the plain vanilla version.
"Beginning June 2, 2012, Microsoft will roll out the Windows Upgrade Offer in 131 markets, including the U.S. and Canada," the company stated on Thursday. "Consumers who buy eligible Windows 7-based PCs through Jan. 31, 2013, can purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of $14.99 (U.S.) during the time of the promotion."
Customers must purchase a PC with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate pre-installed -- and have a matching and valid OEM certificate of authenticity -- to be eligible for the $14.99 upgrade price.
"In addition to the Windows Upgrade Offer designed for consumers buying new Windows 7-based PCs, Microsoft will also announce other offers in the coming months that will help consumers with existing Windows 7-based PCs upgrade to Windows 8 when it is generally available," Microsoft added.
Additional details regarding the upgrade plan will be released later today, the company said.
Microsoft hinted in a blog on Thursday that Windows 8 may be released in October. The company said that if the feedback and telemetry on Windows 8 and Windows RT match expectations, then the Windows 8 team will will enter the final phases of the RTM process in about 2 months.
"If we are successful in that, then we are tracking to our shared goal of having PCs with Windows 8 and Windows RT available for the holidays," said Microsoft's Stephen Sinofsky.
UPDATE: Microsoft released additional information regarding the upgrade. "Beginning June 2, 2012, consumers who purchase up to five new Windows 7 PCs preinstalled with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate will be eligible to purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro upon general availability of Windows 8," the company said on Friday. "Qualifying purchases must be made before January 31, 2013, and offers must be redeemed by February 28, 2013."
"Unlike previous upgrade programs, Microsoft will manage the redemption process, including eligibility verification, payment, software delivery, and support," Microsoft added. "Delivery of Windows 8 Pro will occur via electronic software distribution."
Microsoft also outlines revenue recognition for the Windows Upgrade Offer, which can be read here.