Mac users are accustomed to cheap OS upgrades and digital distribution at this point. Windows users, less so.
Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft:
[quote]Starting at general availability, if your PC is running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 you will qualify to download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99 in 131 markets. And if you want, you can add Windows Media Center for free through the “add features” option within Windows 8 Pro after your upgrade. […] You will be able to upgrade from any consumer edition of Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro and bring everything along which includes your Windows settings, personal files, and apps. If you are upgrading from Windows Vista, you will be able to bring along your Windows settings and personal files, and if you are upgrading from Windows XP you will only be able to bring along your personal files. Of course, if you want to start fresh, you can choose to bring nothing along. Or if you prefer to format your hard drive as part of your upgrade experience, you can do so as long as you boot from media and then format your hard drive from within the setup experience for installing Windows 8, not prior to it. […] This upgrade promotion for Windows 8 Pro both online and at retail runs through January 31st, 2013.[/quote]
What is particularly interesting is that upgrading the very same machine will cost $69.99 USD if you want to buy the DVD package retail. Why? Well, the only good reason we can think of is that Microsoft is taking a page out of Apple’s book, and trying to force everyone to go digital-only. We’re not complaining, but it seems to end up being not much more than a low-bandwidth tax, or a tax for the less technically adept. It isn’t clear if that is acceptable or not to the general public. We’ll see how this goes when Windows 8 drops later this year.