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Microsoft tries to tempt XP diehards with $100 discount on new PCs

Gregg Keizer | March 24, 2014

Microsoft yesterday began pitching another deal at pry-XP-from-my-cold-dead-hands customers, offering them $100 off a new Windows 8.1 device if they spring for one that costs more than $599.

The discount, which would amount to a 17% savings on a $600 system or 10% on one with a $1,000 price tag, was the second carrot Microsoft has dangled in the last three weeks. On March 6, the company began handing out $50 gift cards to customers who bought one of 16 Windows 8.1 notebooks, desktops, tablets or 2-in-1 hybrids. The card, good only for future purchases at the online Windows Store, was part of a promotion Microsoft will run through April 30.

Yesterday's $100-off special will end June 15.

The savings may be applied to any Surface Pro 2 — Microsoft's own it's-a-notebook-no-it's-a-tablet — and select laptops, 2-in-1s and all-in-one desktops, but not pure tablets, that are sold in Microsoft's own retail and online stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Thursday's discount was the latest in a series of steps Microsoft has taken to tempt customers into ditching the 13-year-old XP, which was sold on new PCs as recently as October 2010. Microsoft will issue the final public patches for XP security vulnerabilities on April 8, about two-and-a-half weeks from today.

The 24 devices range in price from $599 for an Acer Aspire VS-473P-6469 notebook to $2,299 for a Dell XPS 15 15-8947sLV laptop. Only five of the 24 were priced less than $800, with the largest number — seven of the two dozen — priced at $999.

Microsoft's least-expensive Surface Pro 2 lists for $899 for the 64GB model. That price does not include a keyboard.

All 24 systems were equipped with touchscreens, hewing to Microsoft's stance that Windows 8.1 is best served by touch-enabled hardware.

Customers who buy one of the 24 devices will also receive 90 days of free telephone and live-chat support, and can download Laplink Express, the free file- and settings-transfer tool Microsoft announced almost three weeks ago that's available to anyone, not just those who purchased a new system.

Unlike the $50 gift card offer, the $100 discount requires that customers have what Microsoft said was a "qualifying Windows XP device" to purchase online. For an in-store purchase, the customer must "present a qualifying Windows XP device," the company said.

Microsoft has been beating the dump-XP drum for almost three years, but in the last few weeks it has gotten more specific, telling customers that they should upgrade their existing PCs to Windows 8.1 or buy a new computer running that operating system. Both those solutions have been mocked by users stuck on XP, who have suggested Microsoft revive Windows 7 at retail — most XP PC owners are suspicious of Windows 8.1's sweeping changes — and offer deep discounts on new devices.


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