Microsoft may be canceling retail package of Windows 8. Do you feel annoyed?



I think we have briefly heard about this before, and Chinese tech site WPDang just got confirmation from their informants: Microsoft will cancel retail package of Windows 8. This means you won't be able to grab a DVD copy at nearby store. Instead, to get the latest member of the Windows family, you have the following options:

  • Buy a branded PC, and get preloaded Windows 8
  • Some OEM have Windows 8 upgrade coupons for buyers of existing Windows 7 computers, providing a way to the future
  • If you have a genuine copy of Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, Microsoft has an online upgrading program. Sets you $14.99 for an upgrade from Windows 7, and $39.99 for upgrade from its elder brothers

Previously leaked retail package design for Windows 8 won't materialize at all. Want the new Windows? Get it online. This will supposedly reduce production cost, help protect the environment, ease the upgrading process, and probably accelerate the distribution of the OS. However, if true indeed, two kinds of consumers are left out: the ones building their own computers instead of buying from any brand, and the ones without internet access or with only dial-up-ish slow services.

I'm not sure about elsewhere. But in China, self-built PC is a large market. Computers are no longer luxuries they used to be in 1990s. Still they are quite a cost to average Chinese family. Buying parts and DIYing the rest of it is still a popular option these days, because it's still remarkably cheaper than buying branded ware. There's definitely no OEM preloading or coupon of any sort for these. Has Microsoft considered that? What should DIYers do? Hunt down a cheap copy of older Windows then pay again for digital upgrading? That sounds awfully complicated to me.

And internet bandwidth problem. Here in China the primary connection is ADSL from 512Kbps to 8Mbps. I'm sure there are countries on this planet doing even worse than us. Wait a day or two just for downloading doesn't sound nice.

So what do you think? Do you feel digital distribution for Windows 8 a relief? Or more like annoyance?

Source: WPDang, Image Renderings: The Verge (opens in new tab)

Kane Gao
  • As for the complaints in the article I'm pretty sure you can request it on DVD if you wanted to. So no need for the unreasonable whining
  • Except that you will be forced to pay full retail. Goodbye discount pricing from Amazon or NewEgg, because they won't have any in stock.
  • Nah. They will provide you with a backup DVD for like $14 if you request it. So, if you upgrade from a previous version of Windows, including the Release Preview, your total cost with a DVD should be about $30. This was per Microsoft. So, unless this has changed...
  • Agree. This article sucks. Im sure they'll have physical discs for the minority. I used to build computers. They're more headache than they're worth.
  • I suppose it had to happen eventually, even if it will be hugely inconvenient to some. It is much along the lines of a new PC, where you have to hunt down the application that allows you to burn your own OS reinstall/restore DVDs. Then you sit back for the hour or two for the discs to be made, all the while wishing you could play with your shiny new toy already.
  • This is a bit irritating. 
    Granted you can always install it from USB stick with your codes. Still always bought the OEM package since XP came out, always put together my PC. 
  • You have the pricing wrong. That $15 is only if you bought a new PC since June I think it is.
  • Old news??
    I have had a chance to inspect three different Windows 8 EULAs: the retail upgrade (with slight variations for Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro); the OEM agreement that most consumers will see when they purchase a new PC with Windows 8 preinstalled; and a new license type called a Personal Use License for System Builder, which won’t be available until the General Availability of Windows 8 in October. So, still possible to buy a Windows 8 legally for diy people.
  • I see no issues with this and send praise to MS for doing this. Everything we do now is cloud based. You want a new PC game you just digitally download it to your machine. I love the fact I don't have to keep track of keys and software disks anymore. Apple has been doing it for a few OS realeases. Yes you can buy the OS on a CD but it will cost you extra. I think CD-Roms will work there way out like the floppy disk. Flash memory is cheap and you pretty much can share any files from the cloud. I can't wait till you can just carry a thumb drive around with your OS and plug in anywhere to access. People will always whine about change.
  • O live on Nebraska. While I have DSL and cable available to me, I work with many people who live out in the country and only have dial-up as an option.
  • But who in rural NE with only dial up is actually looking to UPGRADE to Win8?  Chances are if you have dial-up, you don't even know about W8, let alone want to upgrade to it.  And when they refresh their PC howevermany years down the road, it'll come with W8.  I live in Iowa, lots of rural here too including much of my family.  They won't be looking for a W8 upgrade anytime soon.
  • LOL
  • ..... I have dialup.. I also have the windows 8 preview (downloaded somewhere else).
  • I think we need to be careful by assuming that everyone uses the cloud. While I agree that going digital has certainly led to less clutter and having CD-Roms and instructions all over the place, not everyone has bought into it nor does everyone have the capability to do so. And it isn't whining. Its just hoping (but not naively expecting) companies to keep customers in mind who might not be entirely digital or cloud based
  • Pirate Bay. nuff said.
  • I think this is a good move overall. And don't think it will be that big a deal. For a typical desktop or laptop PC, Windows 8 is a bit of a nuisance. Tablets and computers with touch screens will enjoy this, but will all come with it preloaded with the option to order recovery discs from the OEM for much less $ than buying the OS outright.
  • who the hell is guna actually use windows 8 anyway? I am guna hold on to windows 7 until MS realizes people don't want a "tiles environment" and WILL NEVER change from a "windows environment" I say have a Mobile style GUI, but keep a 'windows style GUI' available for users (Probably 90%) that arn't guna change. If for some reason something happens to render "non-tiles" systems inoperable then I will simply switch to UNIX or LYNIX. I can't be any clearer MS! I love the 'tiles GUI' on my phone but my PC WILL NEVER have a 'tiles GUI'!!!!!
  • NEVER is a strong word. You need to realize that everybody is different. I for one absolutely love the new tiled interface. That is the future of the OS. Linux? Good luck with that.
  • And uhhh, what you want is what Microsoft is offering. Both versions of windows will be available within windows 8. How bout that!
  • I've been using win 8 since consumer preview. I dont see the problem? I dont miss the start menu. My desktop is still there and so is the frikkin toolbar. Im happy MS removed the traditional start menu to get mass user adoption. Otherwise, metro would go the way of windows media center
  • And windows 8 is hella fast. Have fun with Win7 or whatever Linux contraptions as the other user mentioned. The rest of us will move forward.
  • +1
  • Go away then
  • If you can't spell Linux I'm certain you won't be able to use it.
  • The desktop is still there in Windows 8. What are you whining about?
  • +1
  • +1
  • Less crap in landfills. Less crap on my shelf. win. win.
  • +1
  • +1
  • +3
  • This article full of error, first $15 upgrade is for those who bought a new PC with Windows 7 after June. There is an OEM version physical media without the fancy packaging for retail which anyone can buy, I'm unsure as to the price. The $39 upgrade is for those upgrading from all previous version of Windows. This can be bought from the Microsoft store and gives an option to burn to DVD
  • I actually kind of like this.  I know the argument that there's a large number of people with slow enough connections, such as dial-up, that won't really be able to get the upgrade.  But think about many of those people still on dial-up know or care about W8?  Those are the PC users that use whatever is on their PC and only upgrade the OS when they upgrade the PC.  This is much of my family.  None of them know of, will know of, nor care about W8.  Years down the road when their current computer is too slow or they find a good deal on a new computer, it'll likely come with W8.
    I appreciate the effort by MS here and I'm assuming it'll be a huge cost savings which is likely being passed on to the consumer, and keep another worthless box off the store shelves and out of the landfill.
  • I know the argument that there's a large number of people with slow enough connections, such as dial-up, that won't really be able to get the upgrade. But think about many of those people still on dial-up know or care about W8? Those are the PC users that use whatever is on their PC and only upgrade the OS when they upgrade the PC.
    What a phenomenally, ludicrously, horrifically ignorant thing to say. There is absolutely zero reason to assume that one's choice to live in an area where dial-up is the only option available (whether they live there due to a job, family connections, or they just like the area overall) is somehow indicative of that person's competency, desire, or interest in being on the cutting-edge of home computing technology. Your comment just reeks of privileged elitism.
  • I really want to install windows 8 on my MacBook pro, but i dont want to have to buy windows 7 to buy it..... Not neat.
  • This article is flawed. There will be a way to purchase windows 8. You just won't get physical media at retail outlets.
  • You can always download a copy to a USB stick and use that for installs and recovery. That's what I would do.
  • Yeah. If you're nerd enough to build a computer, you're nerd enough to install the OS. How about download and burn your own copy if you need it? LOL
  • No way Microsoft is abandoning people who build their own systems.  It's something that doesn't exist in the Apple ecosystem.  And the following article completely contradicts this one:
  • They've always offered ISO downloads so you can burn to DVD or USB. I've been doing this since XP don't see how this is any different now, or any more inconvenient. You are allowed to make several copies of the discs as they are all activated by a legit key... So your computer shop or mate can give you the software if you need it on disc
  • They're not putting this on the shelves at best buy. Big deal. Best buy doesn't sell PC DIY parts like motherboards, CPU, heatsinks. Who cares
  • I'm confused by your reply as it doesn't seem to relate to what I said. Was this meant for someone else?
  • Apparently so, via WPC app. Lulz fail
  • Also, is this really an issue in China? I read somewhere that they had something like 90% pirated software, so they'll continue to enjoy pirated retail copies ;)
  • Is there an upgrade price for the uk
  • Doof, this is old far as I knew, there was NEVER to be any retail copies. I am quite sure that it was also read somewhere that DIY crowd would be able to get the same kind of options as an OEM of a sort...relax. =/
  • Not sure how this is going to work from a Marketing point of view. Right now you walk into Staples you can pick up an empty box of Win 7, bring it to the counter and get a disc to bring home. Staples, Microsoft and you are happy. So what will it be like with Win 8. No marketing for the new OS in store except for new devices? Or signage that says go home and type in or something like that. Don't think Staples or BestBuy would appreciate that. And most users would be overwhelmed by the thought of upgrading via web, so they simply won't do it. With the current economy, that new machine could be a year or two away, budget wise. Options are good. The more the better. Can't fit every consumer into a single cookie cutter.
  • And who exactly that builds their own computers buys parts from staples or best buy? They dont sell the core DIY parts. Cases, mobos, CPUs, heatsinks. The nerd at microcenter or frys will burn his own disc like he's been doing for the past decade
  • .... From what I've read they are just getting rid of the packaging and not the DVD. They probably want to save money with internet sales but they will still offer the DVD if you look or ask.
  • We should be fine....pretty there is a request DVD program.....if there isn't... I'll just head to the flea market and get me one for like 5 bucks lol...
  • I think this negatively impacts just a small market (retail upgrade disc customers). With solid marketing (I know, it's MS) and easy online upgrade instructions, MS will do just fine.
  • +1 for "I know, it's MS"
  • I always rely on Chinese websites for Microsoft news.
  • No I don't really feel annoyed at all. I think it's a good step forward, as long as we are still able to obtain a physical DVD for restoration/back-up purposes of the OS.
  • Sure, why not? All I need is a burner, a code and empty disc.
  • It does feel like a lot of packaging for a string of 25 characters. About decade ago there were worries about printed manuals being reduced to quick install guides, but it seems society hasn't collapsed due to lack of them. Microsoft already has a system in place for selling points and subscriptions in stores, and maybe that cab be used for Windows licenses as well.
  • This isn't any different from what I already expected.
  • I dont know a lot of people who buy retail Windows OS packs.  They are WAY over priced when you can get OEM at some E-tailer and save a LOT of money.  OEM copy's run around 129$, with full retail packs costing $299-$399!  I cant see a reason to get a retail pack over an OEM.  
  • Woah, I thought for a minute you were saying you can't buy it but only through getting a PC! Digital downloads are absolutely fine as long as it means we get a cheaper deal.