Upgrading Windows has looked expensive in recent years, but the pricing for Windows 8 upgrades is surprisingly low: from release until January 31, 2013, existing Windows users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99, and you'll be able to add Media Center for free.
In a post on the Windows Team blog, Microsoft announced its plans for the upgrade option. $39.99 gets you a digital download of Windows 8 Pro, while $69.99 gets you a DVD release if you don't want to chew through your available download allowance.
Microsoft's announcement doesn't specifically mention Australia, but does note that the upgrade will be available in 131 countries. The $14.99 upgrade offer for anyone who buys a new Windows 7 PC between now and January applied to both Australia and the US (with matching pricing), so it seems reasonable to assume the same will apply in this case. (We've contacted Microsoft Australia for confirmation and will update if we hear anything.)
The post also confirms that during the initial upgrade phase, consumers will be able to add the Windows 8 Media Center feature for free. Microsoft had previously revealed that Media Center would be a separate paid add-on, but hadn't disclosed pricing. Microsoft's initial argument was that Media Center required licensing additional codecs which drove up pricing; presumably it has decided to wear that cost in order to drive people to upgrade more quickly.
Any version from XP onwards can upgrade to Windows 8, and the process uses an Upgrade Assistant that will let you know if any of your hardware is incompatible. Windows XP users can only migrate personal files when upgrading, while Vista and Windows 7 users can also migrate settings.
Windows 8 still doesn't have an official launch date, though October is generally assumed to be the planned target. There's also no pricing for the more basic Windows 8 standard edition, though with this pricing in place it seems unlikely too many people will opt for it. Still no word on standalone pricing for people who build their own PCs.
Upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99] [Blogging Windows]