No cheap WinME upgrade for 95 users, says MS
Look punks, you skipped the last two, so that's $109, OK?
Microsoft's 'cheapest ever Windows' announcement seems to have been even more dubious than we thought at the time. Earlier this month the company announced that the Windows ME upgrade would be available for a limited (but unspecified) time at $59.95, after which it would revert to the standard upgrade price of $109. But now it appears this only applies to the version that upgrades from Win98 and SE.
This kind of proves our point about Windows pricing. The Win98 to SE upgrade was around $20, effectively free plus handling charges, so that one was the real cheapest ever Windows. As the $59.95 deal only applies to a similar point release upgrade, it's comparable, so the most recent cheapest ever Windows is actually three times the cost of the last one; and only temporarily, while the previous deal was still being advertised on the MS site relatively recently.
Microsoft's initial WinME pricing announcement didn't mention that the offer was restricted to Win98 and SE users, and given the shenanigans over the SE upgrade last year, it's perfectly possible that the restrictions have been imposed after the event.
Paul Thurrott of WinInfo has however been contacted by Microsoft about the matter, and has published a commendably polite and restrained explanation. The 'full' upgrade for WinME, the one you'll need for Win95, costs $109, but is "essentially the same" as "Step-Up," the one for Win98 and SE, which costs $59.95. The only difference, a spokesman told Paul, "is the price... and the fact that Windows 95 users will not be able to use the Step-Up version to upgrade."
Following on the news that Win95 won't run the Office 10 beta, it's looking like the holdouts are going to be version-checked into coughing up that $109... ®