Report: Best Buy memo prices Windows 7 upgrades at $50

Sale prices for Home Premium and Professional -- $50 and $100 -- kick off June 26

A leaked memo from Best Buy claims that the retail chain will pre-sell Windows 7 upgrades for as little as $49.99 starting June 26, a technology enthusiast site reported today.

On Friday morning, Engadget posted an image of what it said was an internal Best Buy memo that outlined the company's plans for Windows 7, which Microsoft has announced will go on sale starting on Oct. 22.

The memo, which dubbed Windows 7 as more than just a "Vista that works" operating system, said that Best Buy would kick off pre-sales of Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional for $49.99 and $99.99, respectively, beginning June 26. The promotional prices will be good through July 11, the memo added.

Those prices are considerably lower than prices for similar Vista upgrades. An upgrade edition of Vista Home Premium, for example, lists for $129.95, and sells at online outlets such as Amazon.com for about $95. Vista Business, the edition closest to Windows 7 Professional, lists for $199.95 and sells on Amazon.com for $188.

Microsoft has been touting Windows 7 Home Premium as the default version for consumers, and Professional as the de facto choice for businesses that don't pay Microsoft for a Software Assurance licensing plan.

The Best Buy memo also appeared to confirm that Microsoft, computer makers and retailers will launch the Windows 7 Upgrade Option program in three weeks.

"Best Buy will begin a Technology Guarantee June 26, which guarantees customers a free Windows 7 operating system with PC purchase between June 26 and the Windows 7 launch day," the memo said. "Computers running Vista Home Premium, Business or Ultimate qualify for the upgrade as of June 26. This includes nearly all of our computers in the assortment, except for a couple of them."

The memo's dates and upgrade paths match what TechARP, a site that has repeatedly nailed Microsoft plans before they go public, had revealed as early as January 2009. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it would provide "special deals" on Windows 7 upgrades to buyers of Vista PCs before the new operating system launches, but declined to divulge any details, such as the launch date.

Today, the company kept mum. "We're continuing to work with our retail and OEM partners to provide Windows 7 Upgrade Option programs and other offers to consumers interested in experiencing Windows 7," a spokeswoman said in an e-mail. "We're excited to share additional details regarding these programs soon, but do not have additional details to announce at this time."

According to Best Buy, customers can place orders for Windows 7 on its Web site starting June 26, but copies won't ship until October.

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