Microsoft has apparently grown some serious stones. First, the company gave OEMs something to hold meetings about when the Surface twins were announced.
Now Microsoft is upping the ante by driving a great big stake into the heart of Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 hangers-on by offering a $39.95 upgrade from pretty much anything to Windows 8 Pro.
Let's be clear. If you want Windows 7 Pro, you're looking at putting more than $150 down on your plastic. Even the cheapest good Windows 7 edition, Windows 7 Home Premium, can't be bought for much less than $99.
Windows 8 Pro? $39.95. And that's from pretty much any Windows that isn't sprouting weeds.
It is now FAR cheaper to upgrade a machine to Windows 8 Pro than anything else. Were you thinking about moving that old machine to Windows 7? No more. Windows 8 will save you a boatload of cash.
So, here's how it's going to go down. Most sane people will look at Metro and respond "Meh." Up until today, they would have gone with another copy of Windows 7.
But now, they'll say, "Hmmm...I can save anywhere from $60 to $150 if I buy Windows 8. Okay, that'll work."
And there you go. Ba-billions of new Windows 8 users. Ba-billions of new Windows 8 users with access to the Microsoft App store. Ba-billions of people who will now be running Windows 8 instead of XP.
And ba-billions of users who will find it vastly more cost effective to go to Windows than to buy an Apple product.
Heck, Windows -- in individual units -- is almost as cheap as Linux.
Microsoft just bought itself another decade of life for Windows.
Ballsy move, Ballmer.