Microsoft later this month plans to roll out an Express Upgrade program that gives buyers of Windows XP-based PCs a coupon for a free or discounted upgrade to Windows Vista through March 15. As part of the deal, designed to drive PC sales though the holiday season, Microsoft will include coupons in each Windows XP SKU that will entitle users to a free or discounted Vista upgrade when the next-generation operating system ships in the first quarter of 2007, industry sources said.
For instance, customers who buy PCs equipped with Windows XP Pro, Windows XP Pro Tablet PC Edition and Windows XP Pro x64 Edition are entitled to a free upgrade to Vista, sources said. Customers will be responsible for fulfillment costs. Not all of the coupons will be for free upgrades. Customers who buy systems running Windows XP Home Edition can upgrade to Vista Home Basic Edition for a flat $49 fee and to the higher-end Windows Vista Home Premium Edition for a cost of $79.