Cheap Windows 7 Headed for College Campuses

Microsoft (MSFT) is about to find out whether it can prevent further defections to the Macintosh among college students by charging less for Windows 7 than a typical textbook.

On Thursday, the company announced on Twitter that college students in the U.S. can upgrade their PCs to Windows 7 Home Premium edition for only $29.99, as long as they have a genuine copy of Windows XP or Vista already installed on their systems. That’s a quarter of the $119.99 Microsoft currently charges everyone else for an upgrade to the same version of Windows 7.

The details about the offer are on a special Web site Microsoft set up. There are a couple of catches: Customers have to have a dot-edu email address to prove they’re affiliated with a college, and their $29.99 buys them a version of Windows 7 that they can download Oct. 22 when the operating system becomes available, not a DVD.

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