Windows 8 Pro upgrade price to rise to $199.99 after Jan. 31

That is up from special prices that range from $14.99 to $69.99

The price for upgrading to Windows 8 Pro will shoot up after Jan. 31, when the existing special offers to acquire the new OS lapse.

Microsoft announced on Friday that a Windows 8 Pro upgrade will cost US$199.99, up from special prices as low as $14.99.

Microsoft is running two special offers for upgrading to Windows 8 Pro. One is for people upgrading an existing Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 PC and lets them acquire Windows 8 Pro for $39.99 via Windows.com download or $69.99 from a retail store DVD.

The other offer, priced at $14.99, is for consumers upgrading a new Windows 7 PC bought between June 2 of last year and Jan. 31.

Microsoft also said on Friday that people will be able to upgrade to the regular version of Windows 8 for $119.99. Microsoft didn't have a special offer for upgrading to this Windows version.

Areas in which Windows 8 Pro is more sophisticated than Windows 8 include security, networking, virtualization and remote desktop access.

Meanwhile, the price for users who already have Windows 8 to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro will rise to $99.99 from $69.99.

Finally, adding Windows 8 Media Center Pack, which is currently free, will cost $9.99 after Jan. 31.

Windows 8, a crucial and radical upgrade, must succeed so that the venerable OS improves its anemic market share in tablet devices and makes Microsoft competitive against iOS and Android.

To that end, Windows 8 sports a new user interface based on tile icons that has been optimized for touch screen devices like tablets.

However, there is a loud controversy right now over how well or not Windows 8 has been selling since its release in October.

Microsoft insists that Windows 8 is doing fine, but several market research firms and financial analysts have expressed skepticism.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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