Those sitting on the fence trying to decide whether to buy Windows 8 better watch out because the “limited time offer” for Windows 8 upgrade pricing is drawing to a close.

Users of XP, Vista and Windows 7 are still able to buy the online upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99 or $59.99 for the CD. In fact, for those customers who buy a Windows 7 PC, the upgrade price is a measly $14.99.

However, Microsoft officials announced yesterday that January 31 is a hard date when this deal will end. Really. No extensions, they say.

On February 1, the electronic core Windows 8 upgrade from previous versions of Windows home/consumer will cost $119.99. To upgrade to Windows 8 Pro you’ll shell out $199.99.  That represents a 400% price rise, if you’re counting.

Testers using Windows 8 preview builds also can also upgrade before the deadline at the $39.99 price. The Windows 8 preview builds (Developer Preview, Consumer Preview, and Release Preview) all expired earlier this week.

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A Microsoft rep said earlier in the week that these testers will experience a Windows 8 restart every hour “until they’ve installed a released (RTM) version of Windows”.

The Windows 8 Pro Pack—which upgrade core Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro with Windows Media Center is currently $69.99, but will cost $99.99 after January 31. In addition, the currently-free Windows Media Center Pack, which requires Windows 8 Pro, will cost $9.99 on February 1.

How will sales be affected? Well, this will not give a boost to Windows 8 sales in the medium term, but you can bet January will be a great month as millions rush to beat the deadline.

Is it a good business decision to raise prices by 400% at a time of great competition on the tablet front, particularly as Windows 8 convertibles and ultra-notebooks are higher priced than Android-based tablets and iPads? I don’t think so, but hey, Microsoft can always do new promotions down the road.

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The key question now is what OEMs will pay for Windows 8. For those building PCs from scratch, Windows 8 System Builder — the product usually reserved for OEMs — runs around $100-$165.

However, whether all OEMs will pay this amount is unclear. If OEMs see a hike in their prices, that’s no going to help their cause.

Do you think Microsoft should increase prices at this time? Share your thoughts below.

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  • Kevin Burgess

    I think Microsoft should grit their teeth and continue deep discounts, especially for tablet OEMs. Take a hit until you create significant share – both in units and mind share. The era of $200 OSs is passing – that’s more than the cost of some cheap tablets!