With Windows 8 Microsoft is taking an uncharacteristically aggressive pricing approach. They have already announced that the Windows 8 upgrade will cost only $40, more that 50% cheaper than the Windows 7 upgrade. Another way Microsoft plans to make Windows 8 more affordable is removing the retail version.
The retail version has been the unadulterated version of Windows, free from OEM bloatware and customization. Without all the subsidizing the Windows 7 Pro retail version cost a whopping $300. Paul Thurrot and Mary Jo Foley revealed that Microsoft would be offering just two version of Windows 8 instead: upgrade and system builder.
Windows 8 Upgrade is what people with existing Windows machines will use. The System Builder will be for people building their own machines, people who want to dual boot on a Mac, or anyone that just wants the full version. This aligns with Microsoft’s plan to simplify Windows, and we really like where they are headed.