Update: And now it's official. A Microsoft blog post reveals the pricing and packaging of the Windows 8 Pro upgrade and says preorders will be available from "Amazon.com, Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot and the Microsoft Store and many more." The post also notes that OEM PCs with Windows 8 will be available for preorder: "Also starting today, you will be able to pre-order new Windows 8 PCs and devices from OEM partners such as Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Samsung and Sony."
The product listings also included box shots for the two retail products. Here's the Windows 8 Pro Upgrade:
According to Microsoft, the retail boxes will feature five different front covers. The five options are shown on the company's Facebook page:
And this is the Windows 8 Pro Pack, which upgrades the base edition of Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro and adds Media Center capabilities:
Image credit: Newegg.com
Microsoft has already announced that it will offer downloadable versions of the Windows 8 Pro upgrade for a discounted price of $40. That offer ends on January 31, 2013. In addition, anyone purchasing new Windows 7 PCs between June 2, 2012, and January 31, 2013 will be entitled to a $14.99 Windows 8 upgrade.
Those OEM prices are essentially unchanged from their Windows 7 counterparts. Newegg currently lists the OEM versions of Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional for $99.99 and $139.99, respectively. One big difference is that the Ultimate SKU has been dropped. The feature set for Windows 8 Pro is effectively the same as for Windows 7 Ultimate, which lists at Newegg for $189.99 in OEM editions.
Newegg’s listing for the Windows 8 Pro Upgrade includes a “save $130” note, suggesting that the current price is temporary and that it will rise at some point to $199.95.
As previously announced, the lineup does not include a full package product (FPP) SKU for retail purchase. Instead, consumers will be allowed to buy the OEM product, install it on a new PC or in a virtual machine, and take advantage of the Personal Use Rights section of the OEM license. That represents a significant savings for consumers, who can pay $140 for a full license for Windows 8 Pro rather than $275 for the full retail package.
A search of other mainstream online retailers in the United States turned up no other sites taking preorders for retail or OEM copies of Windows 8 ahead of Microsoft's official announcement this morning. A reader in Germany pointed out this site, which is taking pre-orders for the two OEM versions at prices of €94.90 (Windows 8) and €134.90 (Windows 8 Pro).