Most XP upgrade coupons don't come free

In the past, most PC makers offered free upgrades to a new operating system in the months leading up to the launch of an OS. But don't expect one for Windows XP.

Instead, owners of most recently purchased PCs will need to pay $15 to $30 for a coupon to get a copy of XP once Microsoft's operating system is released Oct. 25.

Compaq Computer so far is the only PC marker to break ranks and offer the OS upgrade for free. Compaq announced late Thursday that it will include a coupon with every PC it sells, allowing customers who bought a computer as of Sept. 1 to get the upgrade at no cost.

"The reason Compaq is doing that is probably to maintain the sales momentum, clear out inventory, and to make sure there aren't any impediments in front of the cost," NPD Intelect analyst Stephen Baker said. "The reason everyone else is charging is because they think they can. They're taking the opposite tract: that the extra 20 bucks probably isn't going to change anybody's mind."

"Microsoft and everybody is counting on Windows XP to inspire sales for fourth quarter," ARS analyst Toni Duboise said said. "But charging for the coupons doesn't bode well for the Windows XP marketing blitz that they're doing right now, and I think there is a little bit of a conflict there."

News source: CNet News

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