Microsoft today announced its pricing structure for Windows 8.1. And while existing Windows 8 users will be able to get the update for free starting on October 18, 2013, new users will pay exactly the same prices as they do currently for Windows 8. And no, there are no plans for special promotional pricing.
I know, I know.
So let's get through this.
No more upgrade versions. In a weird shift, Microsoft will no longer offer an Upgrade version of this product at retail or for download (by comparison, it only offered Upgrade versions of Windows 8 before), but will now instead only offer the Full version. This version "does not require a previous version of Windows in order to be installed," Microsoft says.
Here's the packaging.
Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. As previously announced, this version will be free and available from the Windows Store for electronic download and install.
Pricing: Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro. For those who buy the Full version of Windows 8.1 at retail or online, the pricing will be the same as the Upgrade pricing for Windows 8: $119.99 for Windows 8 "Core" and $199.99 for Windows 8 Pro.
Pricing: Windows 8.1 Pro Pack. Those with Windows 8.1 "Core" can upgrade to Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows Media Center for $99.99.
Pricing: Windows Media Center. Those with Windows 8.1 Pro can purchase just Windows Media Center for $9.99.
Windows 7 to Windows 8.1. If you upgrade to Windows 8.1 from Windows 7, you can bring your documents and other files, but you will need to reinstall all of your applications.
Windows XP/Vista to Windows 8.1. Microsoft says that Windows 8.1 is not designed as an upgrade from these systems. "Consumers still wanting to upgrade from Windows XP or Windows Vista should buy the retail DVD instead of using the download and boot from the DVD to do a clean install of Windows 8.1. Note: files, settings and programs will not transfer – Consumers will need to back up their files and settings, perform clean installation, and then reinstall their files, settings and programs."