Microsoft began promoting a Windows 8 Pro upgrade on Monday for anyone who has purchased -- or intends to purchase -- an eligible Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012, and Jan. 31, 2013. Users can register their PC purchases at the Windows Upgrade Offer Web site using the 25-digit Windows 7 product key that came with the new machine.
"You will be able to purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for only $14.99, which will be redeemable when Windows 8 is generally available on October 26" -- at which time Microsoft also will be offering a $39.99 Win 8 Pro upgrade to all Windows 7 PC users, said Windows blogger Brandon LeBlanc.
However, business professionals will need to carefully consider how an upgrade to Win 8 Pro will affect their work-related activities. Extremely important Win 8 menus hidden off screen are easily brought in when using a touch-enabled device but are absent when using non-touch PCs equipped with a standard keyboard and mouse, said Gartner Research Director Gunnar Berger.
"You have to drag your mouse to the top-right corner, wait a second, and the right thumb menu will pop out," Berger wrote in a blog. "I can't tell you the last time I had to ask someone how to do something in a client OS."
On the other hand, Gartner expects to see a lot of Win 8 polishing under way during the next six months as a flood of new hardware and software solutions are introduced.
"The PC industry is full of creative people who will find ways to plug perceived holes --- it's one of the beauties of the market," Gartner Vice President Steve Kleynhans told us. "This will be a fast-paced dynamic market, and lots will change over the next year."
Plugging Perceived Holes
We asked Al Hilwa, director of application development software research at IDC, whether the Win 8 menus hidden off-screen will pose a major problem for business professionals and enterprises deploying Microsoft's next-generation OS.
"Generally speaking, Windows 8 brings more user-interface complexity, to which enterprise users will be extremely sensitive," Hilwa said. "While there is significant optimization value in Win 8 beyond touch, there is no way around the notion that its key added-value is the hybridization of touch and mouse in a new paradigm." (continued...)