The leaked Best Buy memos gives the dates for the free upgrade program, which is a Microsoft tradition in which people who buy new machines with current Windows versions around the release date of the next version will get a free upgrade to this new version. According to the leaked Best Buy memo, the program starts June 26, and will end October 22 when Windows 7 gets released. What this means is that buyers of new computers with Vista Home Premium, Business or Ultimate pre installed within this timeframe will get a free upgrade for Windows 7. This also goes for boxed retail copies of Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate. Windows Vista Home Basic isn't part of the deal, but I'm not even sure if they still sell that crippled operating system.
The memo also reveals the pre-order prices of Windows 7 starting June 26, but these deals may very well be Best Buy-specific. Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade will cost 49.99 USD, while Windows 7 Professional upgrade will go for 99.99 USD. These deals end July 11. The big question here is of course whether or not these deals will be Best Buy-specific, or if they are world-wide. Pricing information for Windows 7 will be made available later this month. Also note that Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional will be the only available versions in the Western world.
It is tempting to compare this information to the Snow Leopard pricing information, but there are many unknowns on both sides: how will the Snow Leopard upgrade, priced at 29 USD work? Will it require a pre-installed Leopard copy, or a disc (like Apple's Up-to-Date program always does)? Maybe product activation? Are the upgrade prices for Windows 7 at Best Buy worldwide, or Best Buy-specific? Are they truly deals, or are these default prices for all the upgrades during the entire Windows 7 product cycle? And that's just a selection.
Still, putting the information we do have into a table, we get this:
The buyer's program row is about the programs where buyers of the current version get the next version for cheapsies. The program for Windows starts June 26, Apple's starts June 8. Windows' program goes for both OEM and retail copies, Apple's program only goes for "OEM" copies.
Then there's the discussion about which of the two releases is a bigger, and more worthwhile upgrade. For me, that question is pretty clear, but I'm sure you, our dear and loving readers, have ideas of your own about this one.