Microsoft on Tuesday said it would soon begin offering Windows Vista discount upgrade coupons to consumers and small enterprises that purchase compatible PCs, in an effort to allay fears on the part of computer and hardware vendors concerned that the much-anticipated operating system’s (OS) post-holiday release will hamper sales, the IDG News Service reports via PCWorld.com.
Any person or small business that purchases a Vista-compatible machine between Oct. 26, 2006 and March 15, 2007 will be offered a Vista upgrade coupon that will enable it to upgrade Windows XP to the Vista OS and Office 2003 to Office 2007 for free or for a discounted fee, according to the IDG News Service.
The fact that the offer is available through March suggests that Microsoft plans to release Vista, which has already been delayed on multiple occasions, during the second half of that month, the IDG News Service reports.
Most recently the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant said it planned to release Vista to enterprises in November and to consumers in early 2007.
Specific costs associated with the Vista upgrade will depend on which vendor PCs are purchased from, according to the IDG News Service. HP plans to offer new customers in North America a free upgrade from Windows XP Home to Windows Vista Home Basic, from XP Media Center Edition 2005 to Vista Home Premium, and from Windows XP Professional to Vista Business, the IDG News Service reports. HP customers will need to buy any of the firm’s Pavilion or Compaq Presario desktop or laptop machines, or a qualified HP Digital Entertainment Center between the above-mentioned dates to qualify for the Vista upgrade offer, according to the IDG News Service.
Microsoft said some additional vendors may charge “a nominal fee” to upgrade to Windows Vista Business or Vista Business 64 from Windows XP Professional, XP Tablet Edition, or XP Professional x64 Edition, the IDG News Service reports.
Vista-ready PCs require a minimum of 512MB of memory and top-of-the-line processors and graphics cards, according to the IDG News Service.
Microsoft last spring delayed Vista’s launch from December 2006 to early 2007, according to the IDG News Service—a move that sparked concerns on the part of hardware vendors and retailers due to the fact that customers might decide to hold off on purchasing PCs until after the holiday season when Vista is expected to be available. Microsoft is hoping the Vista upgrade coupon offering will boost pre-holiday PC sales.
Microsoft will also offer upgrades via its Microsoft Office Technology Guarantee Programs to customers who buy PCs with Office 2003 software, though the machines must be bought from a certified Microsoft OEM, or “smaller computer makers, known as system builders,” the IDG News Service reports. People who purchase the software separately between Oct. 26, 2006 and Feb. 28, 2007 will also be able to participate in the Office upgrade program, according to the IDG News Service.
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