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ED#112 : Microsoft Windows 7 Free Upgrade Program Screw-Ups!
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ED#112 : Microsoft Windows 7 Free Upgrade Program Screw-Ups!

As early as November 2008, we already revealed details of a free upgrade program for the upcoming Microsoft Windows 7 operating system. Basically, from June 26, 2009 up till January 31, 2010, purchasers of PCs that have Windows Vista pre-installed are entitled to a free upgrade to Windows 7 after it is launched on October 22, 2009.

Whether Microsoft did this out of the goodness of their hearts is something for everyone to ponder, but what's for certain is that this program makes good business sense, especially for Microsoft's OEM partners. Without such a program, everyone would stop buying PCs, preferring to wait until Windows 7 launches so that they can buy PCs with Windows 7 pre-installed.

The announcement of the free upgrade option program for Windows 7 have kept sales of PCs up, even during this economic downturn. Not only were there pent-up sales from folks who stayed their purchases earlier to take opportunity of this free upgrade program, it also generated interest from buyers who were piqued by the possibility of getting a free Windows 7 license.

Unfortunately, the people who benefited the most from this program, namely Microsoft's OEM partners, seemed to be sabotaging the very program that was saving their collective asses during this economic downturn. Many people who purchased their PCs under the program from OEMs like HP, Toshiba and Dell have encountered mind-numbing obstacles in getting their free copy of Windows 7.

Most of these buyers encountered complications during the registration process, some of which were intentional. For example, HP insisted on a scanned copy of the receipt or packing slip even though the purchase was made online. Online invoices or receipts were not accepted, ostensibly to avoid fraud. Odd, since they had no qualms accepting online payments. Guess trust doesn't go both ways, as far as HP is concerned!

Customers of other OEMs like Lenovo and Dell were equally bewildered when they tried to register their PCs or notebooks and received error messages like "invalid part number" or "your serial number doesn't exist". There were also cases of buyers discovering that their date of purchase was pre-dated by weeks or even months, outright disqualifying their purchases for the free upgrade! This was because they purchased their PCs from third-party retailers who had earlier purchased those PCs from their OEM suppliers. Whose fault is that now?

All this bungling makes it appear as if Microsoft's OEM partners were not sufficiently prepared for such a program. This, of course, flies in the face of logic as they underwent a similar program for Windows Vista, and were advised of such an upgrade program back in 2008.

To be fair to Microsoft, they left it to their OEM partners to decide who qualifies for the program. The rules are pretty clear-cut. Without going through all the legalese, it's basically this - purchases of PCs with preinstalled Windows Vista (Ultimate / Business / Home Premium) from participating OEMs during the period of June 26, 2009 up to January 31, 2010 are entitled to a free upgrade to an equivalent Windows 7 version. It's that simple.

Is it so difficult for the OEMs to dust off their Windows Vista free upgrade program SOP (standard operating procedures) and update it for Windows 7, maybe even improve it? You tell me. One thing's for sure - Microsoft's OEM partners are really screwing up the very program that's keeping their noses above the rising water. Stupid, stupid OEMs.


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