MICROSOFT INTENDS to minimise the number of potential new customers delaying their computer purchasing decisions because of the impending launch of Windows 7, by offering what some commentators are assuming will be free upgrades from Vista.
A leaked draft document which was distributed to OEMs, and sneakily acquired by Techarp, gives details of what is currently being called the 'Windows 7 Upgrade Program'.
The programme is firmly aimed at consumers and includes no support for multiple upgrades for enterprise. Companies will be asked to use the volume licensing programme, details of which will be released at a later date.
The biggest kick in the teeth, however, will be for anyone who decided not to stump up the extra cash for one of Microsft's top-tier operating systems.
Anyone cheap enough to go for Vista Home Basic, Vista Starter Edition or XP will be left out in the cold when Windows 7 rolls into town.
The only viable upgrade paths are:
Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Home Premium
Vista Business to Windows 7 Professional and
Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Ultimate
There are no details of costings, either to OEMs or end users, and Microsoft is leaving it up to individual partners to decide how to provide qualifying customers with details of possible upgrades.