The interior of a Microsoft retail store is seen in San Diego (Photo : Reuters)
While Microsoft has announced the $39.99 cost for upgrading to Windows 8, that price point is only valid through January 31, 2013, leaving its final retail cost veiled.
Computer World reports that Microsoft's secrecy on the subject is unconventional in respect to the company's history of announcing OS prices four or more months before they went on the market.
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According to the site, Vista's price was announced 58 days before the OS hit its "release to manufacturing" (RTM) milestone and Window's 7 retail cost was revealed 28 days before RTM. Meanwhile, Windows 8 reached its RTM date nearly a month ago on August 1st and there is still no word on its final retail pricing, bucking the trend.
So why the delay? The report suggests that Microsoft is reacting to its competition, and figuring out how to charge tablet owners for an OS.
Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, explains that "Microsoft needs to price windows in a way that looks smart versus Apple's OS X, doesn't leave money on the table with commercial PC customers, and enables OEMs to compete better with the iPad."
"Microsoft has significantly changed their communications strategy, deciding to keep most of their customers, developers, press and analysts in the dark until the very end of an execution cycle," Moorhead adds.
The report cites the leadership of Stephen Sinofsky, the head Microsoft's Windows division, as one of the contributing factors to the company's precedent breaking behavior.
Microsoft have not made their plans public, but Moorhead expects Windows 8 "to be priced the same as Windows 7 but [that Microsoft will] provide some special discounts to OEMs for tablet and convertible devices."
According to Computer World, that would put the price of a retail Windows 8 upgrade at $120, and Windows 8 Pro at $200.