Win7 upgrade option could mean extra cost for corporate users

Microsoft’s new Windows 7 Option Upgrade Program isn’t much of an option for corporate users and could end up adding thousands of dollars to the cost of migrating to the new operating system for those who blindly jump at Thursday's offer of a for new PC buyers.

The issue is that the Option Upgrade Program only applies to 25 PCs per “physical address” and that limitation likely leaves corporate PC buyers out of the market until Oct. 22 when Windows 7 officially ships.

Gartner analyst Michael Silver says users who buy new PCs now and don’t get a free upgrade will find down the road they have to spend upwards of $150 per PC to get to Windows 7. “That is a pretty significant percentage of what they’re paying for those PCs to begin with.”

Microsoft’s newly on the Option Upgrade Program fails to mention it has a limit of 25 machines. Microsoft made an on the 25-machine restriction on upgrades for Vista and XP users.

As of now, corporate users will have to go through volume licensing for upgrades and/or rely on Software Assurance (SA) maintenance contracts. The contracts give users rights to new software. Those without SA won't get any upgrade break at all beyond their first 25 PCs.

“If you are buying PCs between now and Oct. 22 and you want to move them to Windows 7 and you don’t want to buy SA on those PCs or pay for an upgrade, the alternative is to postpone your PC purchase until Oct. 22 when Windows 7 ships,” says Silver. “I don't think Microsoft or the OEM’s want that to happen but that is what the program sort of encourages.”