It seems like the days of questionably expensive OS upgrades might be ending. Ever since smartphones hit the scene with their yearly free OS updates it just hasn’t really seemed “worth it” to grab a similar kind of thing for your desktop and PC if you’ll be paying in excess of $100. Apple saw this back in 2009 when it announced the OSX upgrade Snow Leopard would be just $29 for customers already using the most recent OSX version (then Leopard), rather than the then standard fee of $129. This trend has continued to the present day.
During these years Microsoft has plodded along with the same distribution methods and pricing structure, making it seem somewhat behind the times when it comes to product marketing. Why make some of your customers pay a lot for a physical product of a copy when you can get almost all of them to pay a little for a digital copy? We’ve discussed before how companies, such as GAME, have suffered because they have not embraced more modern distribution methods and what they mean to a customer not only for convenience, but for pricing.
Microsoft has finally made the announcement that has brought it in to this decade. Customers who already have Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $40. This price reflects the digital copy of the OS; a DVD copy will set customers back $70, which is still a significant improvement over past price tags.
The move is sure to have been, at least partially, triggered by Microsoft’s desire to push the upcoming Windows Phone 8 smartphone platform which uses the same kernel as Windows 8. If you’re not sure what that means then you can check out our post on it, but for a quick summary we’ll just say that users with both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 gadgets should start to see the same kind of, or in some areas even greater benefits than those who own both an iPhone and a Mac. Microsoft has not only followed Apple’s lead in pricing, but in terms of supplying a complete ecosystem of products all designed to work together, rather than several different platforms all working independently of one another.
Really whatever Microsoft’s motivations turn out to have been we don’t particularly care. It’s good news that companies like Apple and Microsoft are starting to embrace this new mass-digital, super-affordable marketing strategy and it will hopefully help to spark other companies to make similar moves in the future. After all more competition means more choices and more choices generally lead towards pleasant outcomes for consumers.