updated 06:25 pm EDT, Tue October 24, 2006
MS Vista upgrade plan
Microsoft and various PC manufacturers have finally solidified earlier plans to offer an upgrade to Windows Vista. According to Microsoft, the Express Upgrade program will allow buyers of select Windows XP machines (mainly from Dell, Sony, Gateway, et al.) to upgrade to Vista for free, or in some cases, at a "discounted" price. The exact details will be dependent on the vendor. Smaller PC makers defined as "system builders," for instance, will only be given discount coupons to go with Windows Vista Capable machines. All upgrade plans will only be available between October 26th and March 15th.
What version of Vista you get will be tied to the copy of XP that was installed. Media Center Edition 2005 will translate into Vista Home Premium, while Professional, Tablet PC, or Professional x64 will be upgradable to Business or Business 64 for a fee. XP Home can become either Home Basic or Home Premium, but the latter will still cost 50 percent of the retail price.
Buyers of Office 2003 programs will also be eligible for discounts. If purchased through specific manufacturers, some 2003 copies will receive an upgrade to 2007 for the simple cost of shipping and handling. If purchased from a system builder, the same upgrade can be had as long as the customer includes a coupon and a proof of purchase.
Independent boxed copies of XP or Office may be upgradable, but Microsoft is directing inquiries to local retailers.