Getting Late for Pricing Windows 8

Usually by this time pre-launch, Microsoft has announced prices, but has not yet said what prices Windows 8 will sell for.

There are less than two months to go before Microsoft’s scheduled launch of Windows 8 and Microsoft, unlike prior product launches, has still not announced prices. With just two months to go before the retail launch of Windows 8, Microsoft has yet to price the new OS. The many versions of Windows 8, no doubt, make pricing hard: Intel (corporates) and ARM (consumers) versions for tablets and PCs.

There are lots of complications in pricing Windows 8, in addition to its number of versions. Microsoft has to consider competing against various products that run the well-entrenched Android and iOS operating systems. Google gives Android to any qualified company that wants it. Apple does not license iOS to any company. Corporates are accustomed to paying more, but pricing is a major concern for consumers. So, how does Microsoft maximize profits on sales of PCs to corporates and maximize tablet sales to consumers before Apple and Android become too dominant?

The only price that Microsoft has announced is quite a bargain. It will charge only $39.99 for users to upgrade Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro, which requires an Intel-based PC. That’s on offer until January 31, 2013. It has not said what it will charge for upgrades after that date or what it will charge for new retail sales of Windows 8 Pro.

Microsoft has said it will offer Windows 8 Pro in only two versions:

– Upgrades to Windows XP, Vista and 7

– System Builder for small PC makers or users who want to run it in a virtual machine or in a dual-boot configuration.

There’s another complication: Microsoft has to make sure Windows 8 Pro wholesale pricing is attractive to the large makers of PCs such as HP, Lenovo, Dell and Acer.

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