Microsoft and its partners are preparing to launch a Windows 8 upgrade offer for those buying Windows 7 PC in an attempt to boost sales in the months leading up to the release of the new operating system, according to Mary Jo Foley over on CNET.
Microsoft has traditionally used similar upgrade offers in the run up to the launch of a new operating system.
The offer speculated about is for the feature-rich Pro edition of Windows 8 and not the consumer-oriented Windows 8 edition. Given this, the upgrade offer is unlikely to be free and will carry some sort of fee.
It is likely that Microsoft or its partners will offer a free upgrade coupon to Windows 8 on selected systems.
But are these upgrade offers a good deal?
The answer to this question depends on the reason why you are buying the new PC in the first place. If you need a PC -- because your old one has died or for your child for school or college -- then a coupon that allows you to upgrade to the latest version of Windows -- either for a fee or for free -- is an added bonus. You can take it or leave it because it was an added bonus that came with a PC that you needed. You didn't buy the PC based on the offer.
But these offers aren't aimed at people who are buying a PC because they need one. What Microsoft is banking on is that the offer of an upgrade to Windows 8 will encourage people to buy a PC during the run up to the release of Windows 8 rather than wait it out for a new PC with Windows 8 pre-installed. This is good for both Microsoft and its partners because it prevents a precipitous fall in sales during the run up to the release of a new operating system.
So is it a good deal, or should you wait for a PC with Windows 8 pre-installed?
I think that anyone who considers buying a PC on the basis on an upgrade coupon to the next release of Windows -- or who is influenced by the presence of such an offer -- needs to see the offer for what it is, which is a lure to get you to spend money on technology that will be superseded in a few months. New operating systems always represent a big turning point when it comes to hardware, and given Windows 8's huge emphasis on touch and gesture control, this will be doubly so with this upcoming release.
Buying a PC in the last few months leading up to the release of a new operating system is, in my opinion, a bad idea. If you hold out a few extra months, not only will you get a system with Windows 8 pre-installed on it -- eliminating all the hassles of getting the new operating system installed -- but you will inevitably get better hardware for your money. Also, the system will be designed with Windows 8 in mind, and all the hardware and software drivers will have been figured for you by the OEMs. This is especially true for hardware such as ultrabooks, which are going to see a significantly revamp for Windows 8.
Also, while installing an operating system is usually a relatively painless process, installing it on a system that has data and applications on it has the scope to go wrong. Unless you have a method of backing up the system in some way before carrying out the upgrade, there's a chance of data loss, or even being left with a system that doesn't work.
My advice is simple. If you can avoid buying a PC in the months leading up to the release of Windows 8, then do so. While I've no doubt that the hardware you buy during that time will be able to run the new operating system, you're going to get a better experience, not to mention better hardware, if you wait.
Image credit: ZDNet.
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