By offering users of Windows 7, XP and Vista discounts to upgrade to Windows 8, Microsoft is putting itself in a
position to reap both benefits and criticism in the consumer operating system market.
Giving PC owners an incentive to put Windows 8 on their machines helps Microsoft because, if they upgrade, they
will be less likely to switch to a competing platform such as Apple's Mac OS.
However, because Windows 8's main innovation is its Metro interface, designed with touchscreens in mind,
consumers who upgrade now could be disappointed if their machine can't take advantage of the new functionality.
In the past month, Microsoft has announced two offers for consumers to upgrade existing PCs to the new OS, which
is expected to ship before the end of the year.