Coupon program could cost Microsoft a bundle

Several months ago, we made mention of Microsoft possibly offering free or discounted coupons for people who purchased PCs during the holiday season from participating OEMs offering the Vista Express upgrade. The coupons would give consumers free or discounted upgrade coupons to Vista, based upon the version that they purchased with their new PC, Ultra-Mobile PC or Tablet PC.

Although nothing is confirmed at this point, except what we mentioned in this articleBloomberg is reporting that should the  coupon offer happen, it could end up costing Microsoft about $600 million. TechWeb is also reporting that the program is being dubbed “Express Upgrade” and offers some speculative coupon discount numbers:


That program, which inside sources have dubbed “Express Upgrade,” will let buyers of PCs running Windows XP Home to upgrade in early 2007 to Vista Home Basic for $49, or to Vista Home Premium for $79. Customers who buy PCs equipped with Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Pro Tablet PC Edition, or Windows XP Pro x64 Edition between Oct. 26, 2006 and March 15, 2007 will be entitled to a free Vista upgrade under the program.

I believe the coupon program, if it comes to pass, will be a good thing for consumers and participating OEMs, and will encourage Tablet PC and other PC purchasing throughout the holiday season while they wait for Vista to finally arrive.