The best tablets are often based on ARM processors, rather than Intel-based ones, but if you happen to have a Windows 7 tablet lying around, you’ll no doubt be pleased to hear that Microsoft plans to sell Windows 8 Pro upgrades for as little as $39.99 at launch. This price tag is significantly cheaper than previous versions of Windows, despite the fact that Windows 8 is arguably the biggest revision of Microsoft’s OS in the history of the company – or, at least, since Windows 95.
When Windows 8 is released this fall, PCs running any consumer (e.g. not Enterprise) version Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 in one of 131 markets will be eligible for a $39.99 upgrade to Windows 8 Pro, the best version of Windows 8 available to consumers. This special pricing, however, will only apply to orders purchased through Windows.com. Store-bought shrink-wrapped DVD copies of Windows 8 Pro will retail for a slightly more expensive $69.99, which is still a bargain compared to past OSes. Best, of all, Microsoft is changing its position on Windows Media Center and offering it as a free add-on to everyone who purchases a copy of Windows 8 Pro.
Both the digital and shrink-wrapped versions will support all of the usual installation methods, including clean installs and upgrades via an executable, bootable USB, or a DVD created with the .ISO file. Microsoft will also send you a physical backup DVD for an extra $15 plus shipping and handling, which is still much cheaper than the store-bought version.
You might be wondering to yourself what the catch is. Well, there is one… sort of. The $39.99 and $69.99 pricing will only be available for a limited time. More specifically, between general availability (e.g. the release of Windows 8 this fall) and January 31, 2013. Not coincidentally, this is also the same time frame for the $14.99 Windows 8 Pro upgrade offer for those who purchase a new Windows 7 PC.