All year long, Microsoft has slowly leaked Windows 8 information out to eager tech enthusiasts. But as we head into the final two week stretch before the product’s launch, there are still many questions. Chief among them is pricing. And while Microsoft still hasn’t released any official pricing information, now they don’t need to: Retailers started taking Windows 8 pre-orders today, and they are of course detailing the true cost of Windows 8.
You may recall that Microsoft previously announced two special promotion pricing schemes for Windows 8.
The first, for buyers of new PCs, was leaked back in May, and then made official in June: Anyone who buys a new Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 to purchase an upgrade coupon for Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (US; the offer is available in 130 different countries). To obtain the upgrade, you must register at the Windows Upgrade Offer web site by February 28, 2013.
The second special offer provides a copy of Windows 8 Pro to anyone currently using any supported version of Windows for just $40. The $40 pricing applies to electronically downloaded versions of the software that are installed via Windows 8’s new web-based installer at Windows.com. This was announced back in July.
Since then, Microsoft has confirmed that it will only offer Upgrade versions of Windows 8 (Core) and Windows 8 Pro at retail (and electronically). That is, there will be no Full product version. This has naturally led to questions about which products people can buy in certain circumstances, and how this install process will work if there’s no OS on the PC.
According to a Microsoft representative, users with existing PCs can purchase the Upgrade versions of Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro and run Setup from within their current version of Windows. Users with no Windows installed, such as Mac users wishing to dual boot with Windows 8, will need to purchase what’s called the System Builder, or OEM, versions of Windows 8 instead.
So how much will these items cost?
According to Best Buy, NewEgg, and other retailers, the pricing is about as expected, and in-line with Windows 7 pricing:
Windows 8 (Core): $99.99 (System Builder/OEM)
Windows 8 Pro: $139.99 (System Builder/OEM)
Windows 8 Pro Upgrade - $69.99
Windows 8 Pro Pack (Product Key Card) - $69.99
A few notes about these offerings. You must choose between 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro on the System Builder versions; the packaging does not include both. (The Upgrade version of Windows 8 Pro includes both.) And that latter offering provides a product key—no disc—that you can use to electronically upgrade in-place from Windows 8 (Core) to Windows 8 Pro.