OEMs Reveal Their Vista Upgrade Plans

By Peter Galli  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

Gateway and Hewlett-Packard are going to let customers who buy certain PCs upgrade to Windows Vista at no cost, while Dell has decided to charge a fee.

While both Gateway and Hewlett-Packard are going to let customers who buy certain PCs this holiday season upgrade to Windows Vista at no cost, Dell has decided to charge a fee to upgrade from Windows XP Home to Vista Basic.

These OEM announcements closely follow that of Microsoft, which finally revealed Oct. 24 its upgrade plans for customers who buy a Windows Vista capable PC this holiday season.

Dell spokesman Bob Kaufman told eWEEK that while the company plans to charge $45 plus shipping and handling to move from Windows XP Home to Vista Basic, the upgrade from Windows XP Media Center Edition to Vista Premium and from Windows XP Pro to Vista premium will only incur a shipping and handling fee.

"There are also no proof-of-purchase requirements or other cumbersome verifications efforts. We know who our customers are and we can help counsel them on what they need to buy a Vista capable system," Kaufman said.

When Vista becomes available, customers will receive two DVD's: one which contains Vista and the other which gives a step-by-step process on how to load the new operating system, he said.

Click here to read more about how Hewlett-Packard overtook Dell as the world's top PC vendor in the third quarter.

Dell was also recommending that those customers buying systems, both now and when Vista is available in January 2007, consider including dual-core processors, upgraded graphics cards with 128MB of graphics memory, large hard drives of 2GB or more, and a wide aspect screen "for an optimized experience on Vista," he said.

A Gateway spokesperson told eWEEK that all eMachines and Gateway PCs were eligible for a free upgrade to Windows Vista, starting Oct. 26.

"The specific Vista version will depend on the version of XP they purchase today: XP Home upgrades to Vista Home Basic, Microsoft Media Center to Vista Home Premium and XP Pro and the Tablet to Vista Business," the spokesperson said.

"The upgrade is totally free of charge for customers who buy PCs direct from Gateway, via both phone and Web, while retailers are handling the Vista Express upgrade program at their discretion, based on Microsoft guidelines," she said.

That means that customers who buy eMachines/Gateway PCs via retail may have to pay a shipping fee, the spokesperson said, noting that although systems bought before Oct. 26 were not eligible for the free upgrade to Vista, "most eMachines and all Gateway systems have been capable of running Vista since the second quarter."

To read more about what's inside the six Windows Vista releases, click here.

Tiffany Smith, the public relations manager for Hewlett-Packard's personal systems group, told eWEEK that North American consumers who buy a new HP Pavilion or Compaq Presario desktop or notebook PC, or HP Digital Entertainment Center, with a qualifying Windows XP operating system that is designated "Windows Vista Capable" between Oct. 26, 2006 and March 15, 2007 will be eligible for a free upgrade to Vista.

Shipping and handling costs may also apply, depending on individual retailer requirements, she said, adding that the free, qualifying, equivalent upgrade paths in North America include Windows XP Home to Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 to Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows XP Professional to Windows Vista Business.

What is the business case for upgrading to Vista? Click here to read more.

"In North America, approximately 98 percent of HP consumer PCs are Microsoft Windows Vista Capable—direct customers can still custom configure a PC with 256MB of memory, so that's why we say 98 percent—and more than 85 percent are Windows Vista Premium Ready," Smith said.

Customers will also have to visit HP's Web site to request their upgrade and for instructions on how to take advantage of the upgrade by no later than March 31, 2007, and proof of purchase will be required.

What is the real compatibility picture for Windows Vista? Click here to read more.

There will also be ordering instructions in the box of new Windows Vista Capable consumer PCs shipped from HP to its partners and customers beginning October 26, 2006, she said.

"HP also plans to have Windows Vista-compatible and/or pre-loaded PCs, printers, scanners and digital cameras, as well as services, for both consumers and business users, all available when Vista launches. HP will also offer Windows Vista-compatible drivers for specific models of HP PCs, printers, scanners and digital cameras in time for the Windows Vista general availability launch," Smith said.

Check out eWEEK.com's for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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