It seems that the Vista coupon rumors have been around forever, but now it looks like we are getting close to the real deal. Paula Rooney and Edward F. Moltzen have the buzz at CRN:
Microsoft later this month plans to roll out an Express Upgrade program that gives buyers of Windows XP-based PCs a coupon for a free or discounted upgrade to Windows Vista through March 15.
As part of the deal, designed to drive PC sales though the holiday season, Microsoft will include coupons in each Windows XP SKU that will entitle users to a free or discounted Vista upgrade when the next-generation operating system ships in the first quarter of 2007, industry sources said.
For instance, customers who buy PCs equipped with Windows XP Pro, Windows XP Pro Tablet PC Edition and Windows XP Pro x64 Edition are entitled to a free upgrade to Vista, sources said. Customers will be responsible for fulfillment costs.
No word on which version of Vista is free in this case, but Vista Home Premium Edition would be the best match. For XP Home the story is clearer:
Not all of the coupons will be for free upgrades. Customers who buy systems running Windows XP Home Edition can upgrade to Vista Home Basic Edition for a flat $49 fee and to the higher-end Windows Vista Home Premium Edition for a cost of $79.
Home to Home Basic isn’t free? There’s also no word on XP Media Center.
The Windows Vista Technology Upgrade Program runs from Oct. 26, 2006, through March 15, 2007. Distributors are expected to have the new SKUs in house for system builders by Oct. 15.
There’s more detail on the mechanics of the program by following the link, but as is only reasonable it is restricted to systems that actually have the firepower to run Vista. Microsoft declined to comment.