Windows 8 Pro upgrade price to soar by 400% from 1 February

Windows 8 home screen

Windows users planning an upgrade to Microsoft's new operating system could pay up to 400 per cent more for the product unless they purchase it before the end of the month.

The software giant announced at the end of last week that the cost of upgrading to Windows 8 is set to go up from 1 February 2013, when Windows 8 Pro users will have to pay $199.99 for the product.

Windows 7 users that buy the product from before 31 January will be charged $39.99, which is 400 per cent lower than the new price, or $69.99 from a local retailer.

If people aren't willing to buy it now for $40, do Microsoft think they are holding out to pay $199 instead?

Business users that have already plumped for Windows 8, but want to upgrade to the Pro edition, can buy a Windows 8 Pro pack for $69.99 until 31 January or for $99.99 from 1 February.

Meanwhile, anyone who purchased Windows 7 between 2 June 2012 and 31 January 2013 will be eligible for Microsoft's ongoing Windows Upgrade Offer, which means they can acquire the new OS for $14.99.

Microsoft supply chain sources said they are awaiting confirmation about how much Windows 8 upgrades are likely to cost UK users, with one suggesting that Windows 8 Pro could end up setting people back around 150 from 1 February.

Several people IT Pro spoke to earlier today also confirmed that the cut-off date for acquiring a lower priced version of the software is likely to be the same as the US.

In a statement to IT Pro, a Microsoft spokesperson was unable to shed any further light on the UK pricing situation.

"Microsoft is not indicating specific market availability or exact market pricing outside of the US," the spokesperson said.

"Pricing does vary by country/region and is dependent on a variety of specific factors including, but not limited to, exchange rate, local taxes, duties, local market conditions and retailer pricing decisions."

In recent weeks, PC market figures from analysts IDC and Gartner have revealed that the release of Windows 8 at the end of October last year did little to ignite PC sales over the festive period.

Speaking to IT Pro, Andy Trish, managing director of Microsoft reseller NCI Technologies, said it is doubtful that news of the price hikes will cause a rush of people to upgrade to Windows 8.

"Common sense suggests if people aren't willing to buy it now for $40, do Microsoft think they are holding out to pay $199 instead," said Trish.

"I know if they are not getting the revenue in now, they will get far less in when the cost goes up," he added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.