Why Microsoft Is Talking About “Windows Blue Pricing”

Company exec says that “pricing details” will be announced soon

As we’ve told you this morning, Microsoft CFO Tami Reller confirmed the Blue project once again, saying that a new Windows release is on the table for a 2013 release.

Even though she refused to provide any valuable details about this important Windows refresh, Reller did say something that’s pretty interesting.

Asked whether Windows Blue would bring back the Start button and an option to Skip the Start Screen and boot directly to desktop, Reller replied with a pretty vague answer.

More information on pricing and availability will be provided later this month, she said.

While the fact that Microsoft is planning to unveil Windows Blue in the next couple of weeks is indeed unexpected, another surprising thing is the “p” word. Pricing, that is.

Windows Blue has until now been rumored to be offered free of charge, as it’s nothing more than a major upgrade for Windows 8. A service pack, if you want, which would include plenty of changes, some of which are expected to address the feedback received from users.

While this could pretty much make sense, talking about Windows Blue pricing might raise an eyebrow or two. When it says pricing, Tami Reller pretty much refers to the freeware license the tech giant could offer with Blue, even though some sources familiar with the matter also hinted that a small upgrade fee was possible.

Truth is, requiring users to pay for an upgrade that should be offered for free is quite a risky strategy and Microsoft doesn’t afford it. Windows 8 is yet to excite, so Windows Blue has a double purpose.

First, it’s supposed to fix many of the things that users complained about in Windows 8, such as the Start Screen, most likely with the help of new personalization options that would give customers more customization power.

Second, Blue is expected to boost Windows 8 sales and increase its market share, so a small fee would reduce its chances of becoming a hit.

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