Apple threw down a considerable gauntlet on June 8 when it
announced it would only charge users $29 to upgrade from the existing Leopard
operating system to the forthcoming Snow Leopard. Now Microsoft has responded.Windows7

The Redmond-based software giant will let customers
pre-order upgrades beginning tomorrow, June 26. And if you act fast, you can
save a fair bit.

Windows 7 Home Premium is the entry-level version of the
system. Upgrades from previous versions of Windows will normally retail for
$120. But for pre-orders placed for an unspecified “limited time,” the company
will only charge $50.

Windows 7 Professional upgrades will normally cost $200, but
will drop to $100 for that same nebulous time frame.

The discounts will only be given on a select number of
licenses, thus the lack of a specific end date for the promotion. You’ll be able
to place the pre-orders at retail locations and Microsoft’s Website.

If you’ve got an outdated machine and are about to buy a new
PC, anything bought after June 26th will be eligible for a free
upgrade.

The pre-order ‘sale’ is a nice touch, but the standard
pricing for the upgrades could hurt Microsoft in the long run. Vista has left a
lot of its customers with a bad, bad taste in their mouths. Apple is a more
expensive initial investment, but with its Snow Leopard upgrade prices, it’s
positioning itself to be a more customer friendly company.

It won’t overtake Windows’ market share, of course, but it
could continue to chip away at it, particularly with trend makers.

Windows 7 will launch on Oct. 22.

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