Windows 7 Consumer Discounts To Begin June 26

A leaked memo from consumer retailer Best Buy has disclosed the start date for Microsoft's incentive program for Windows sales -- June 26.

The incentive deal is known as the "technology guarantee program." For a limited time, consumers will be able to get a free operating system upgrade when moving from Windows Vista to Windows 7. The deal takes effect for consumers buying new computers loaded with Vista or boxed copies of Vista.

An Engadget story posted the memo, and the Wall Street Journal confirmed the memo's authenticity with Best Buy. However, as of Friday, Microsoft still had not announced or confirmed the program.

The offer will start on June 26 and last until Windows 7 ships. Windows 7 is Microsoft's newest operating system with an announced shipping date to the public of Oct. 22.

The upgrade offer applies to only certain editions of Vista, including Home Premium, Business and Ultimate.

The memo also described an online presales discount period, ending on July 11, for those upgrading from certain Vista editions.

"Starting June 26 there will also be a presell of select versions of Windows 7 on - $49.99 for Windows Home Premium Upgrade and $99.99 for Windows 7 Professional Upgrade," Best Buy's memo explained.

The leaking of the technology guarantee program's dates may suggest that PC retailers want to move on from Vista, which has had two years' worth of lackluster sales, at least from business consumers. As a possible echo of that feeling, the Best Buy memo obliquely refers to Windows 7 as more than just "Vista that works."

Microsoft faced initial troubles with incompatible drivers that hurt Vista sales. Vista also required hardware upgrades to run properly in many cases, further dampening sales. However, the current specs described for Windows 7 are about the same as Vista's. Microsoft even claims that apps that didn't run on Vista likely will run on Windows 7.

Best Buy may be primed for Windows 7 sales, but it also has less retail-store competition. Circuit City went bankrupt early this year, and CompUSA has closed a number of its retail stores in the last year or two.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.