Windows 8 Might Not Be Sold Via Retail Channels: Digital Only?

There’s a possibility it seems that Microsoft will not be selling retail copies of Windows 8 at their physical stores or online.

Windows 8 might not be sold retail

Microsoft Might Decide Not to Sale Windows 8 Copies Individually

In a bid to distance Windows 8 from the hordes of existing PCs around the world and truly mark a free start, Microsoft might actually decided to not sell copies of its upcoming OS. Microsoft insiders Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrot reported recently. According to them, full retail copies of Windows 8 might not be available at launch. Although there’s no information available on how Microsoft would upgrade the myriads of PCs out there that the company has promised to support through Windows 8.

Users who are not looking to upgrade from one of the Preview builds of Windows 8 might have to settle for buying an OEM version of Windows 8, also referred to as a System Builder edition. This is generally available only to manufacturers and would be useful to those who want to run Windows 8 on a Mac or to build their own PC. However, it is not entirely legal for consumers to buy OEM versions, especially because these versions are cheaper than retail versions. However, it is still possible that Microsoft legalizes the practice once Windows 8 launches.

The only downside to an OEM version is that each copy is locked to a motherboard. So if you upgrade your PC and you replace your motherboard with a newer model, you will have to get a new copy of Windows. As for tech support, retail copies include 90 days of free support that is extensible through a separate purchase. For OEM there’s no such support available.

But since there has been no specific information released by Microsoft on the pricing of retail an OEM versions of Windows 8, it is wiser to focus on the upgrade offer that Microsoft will be running till January 31st. As part of this offer, any user upgrading to Windows 8 from as low as XP will be upgraded to Windows 8 Pro for only $40 — as we reported some time earlier.

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