How much will Windows 10 really cost?

Is Microsoft really going to charge $100 to $200 to users who want the Pro edition or who don't qualify for the free upgrade? Greg Shultz takes a look at some alternative pricing ideas.

Windows 10 subscription

In last week's article, "The Get Windows 10 program has hatched!," I showed you how you can use the Get Windows 10 program to reserve your free copy of Windows 10 upgrade from your Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 system. As you may know, the free upgrade will move you to the same edition of Windows that you're currently running. As Microsoft puts it on the Windows 10 Q&A page:

"When you upgrade, you'll stay on like-to-like editions of Windows. For example, Windows 7 Home Premium will upgrade to Windows 10 Home."

However, what if you get Windows 10 Home and then decide that you would like Windows 10 Pro? How much will it cost to upgrade? What if you are running Windows Vista or XP? Or, what if you are planning on building your own system and want to install Windows 10 from scratch? How much will you have to pay for Windows 10? Let's take a closer look.

The free upgrade chart

Along with the like-to-like editions description, Microsoft presented an upgrade chart (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Microsoft released this upgrade chart to clarify the like-to-like editions of Windows description.

As you can see, this is how Microsoft will be doling out the free editions of Windows 10. For those getting the Pro edition of Windows 10, this will be perfect. And for most folks getting the Home edition of Windows 10, this will be a fine deal. However, what if you're really a Pro type of user who just happened to end up with a Home edition of Windows 7/8? Will you be satisfied with the Home edition of Windows 10?

For example, my main system is running Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center. However, my laptop is running the standard Windows 8.1, because that's what was preinstalled when I purchased it last year from Dell. I've always wished that it had the Pro edition, as there are certain features that I've grown accustomed to on the Pro edition that I sorely miss, such as being able to configure my laptop as a Remote Desktop host.

I know that I won't be satisfied with the Home edition of Windows 10 on my laptop.

So, what are folks like us going to have to pay to get what we really want?

The Windows 10 Pro Pack

Microsoft has released statements to various technology media sites, such as CNET, confirming the existence of an upgrade package called the Windows 10 Pro Pack that will allow you to move up from the Windows 10 Home edition to Pro edition. The Windows 10 Pro Pack will cost $99 (USD).

While that might not sound like a lot, when compared to FREE, it seems kind of unfair.

I understand that I'm getting a like-to-like edition upgrade, but I was hoping for some kind of break. After all, I've been a loyal Microsoft customer for years.

How about selling the Windows 10 Pro Pack for $39.99 for a limited time? Say, 90 days after launch? That would be more than acceptable to me--and it's not unprecedented.

As you may remember, back when Windows 8 was first launched in October of 2012, upgrades to the Pro edition were priced at just $39.99 for anyone using an existing product. That offer ran until January 31, 2013. After that, the price of Windows 8 went up to the regular price point.

Retail packages

Microsoft has also released the MSRP for copies of the new operating system. Windows 10 Home will sell for $119 and Windows 10 Pro will sell for $199. Again, this seems to be a pretty stiff deal when compared to FREE.

This is the price that anyone using Windows XP or Windows Vista on a system that's capable of running Windows 10 will have to pay for the full install of the new operating system. This also applies to users who are planning on building their own systems.

If the goal is to really get everyone off of old operating systems and onto Windows 10, Microsoft should offer these folks a special price for a limited time.

Again, such a deal is not unprecedented. When Windows 8 first came out, the retail package of the Pro edition cost $69.99.

If Windows XP/Vista users and system builders could get Windows 10 Pro for $69.99 for the first 90 days after launch, I think that a lot more people would go for it than if they have to pay $199.

What's your take?

If you get a free Windows 10 Home upgrade, will you be satisfied--or will you want to move up to Windows 10 Pro? If so, would you be willing to pay $39 for the upgrade? If you don't qualify for the free upgrade, would you be willing to pay $69 for Windows 10? Let us know in the discussion thread below.

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