Microsoft Corporation announced Tuesday that a special promotion for Windows Me will lower the cost of the upgrade by $50 for a limited-time when the new operating system goes on sale next month. The promotion, which applies only to the retail upgrade version, will lower the price temporarily from $109 to $59, giving customers added incentive to upgrade their existing machines. Of course, one might wonder why Microsoft would heavily discount a product like this before it's released. Microsoft makes the vast majority of its Windows revenues on machines bundles: For example, the company sold approximately 4 million copies of Windows 98 and 98 SE at retail over two years, but it sold well over 150 million copies bundled with new machines. The Windows Me promotion applies only to Windows 98 and Windows 98 SE users.

"With Windows Me, we're thrilled to be delivering a great upgrade to our Windows 9x customers," says John Frederiksen, the general manager of the PC Experience Solution Group at Microsoft. "The improvements in digital media, home networking, PC health and online experience will make Windows Me the most compelling operating system yet for home users. We are excited to offer additional value to our loyal Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition customers through this special promotion."

Windows Me is the last product in the Windows 9x line, offering enhancements to PC reliability, digital media, home networking, and the online experience. For more information, please visit my SuperSite for Windows, which offers reviews, technology showcases, and a FAQ for Windows Me. The product goes on sale in retail locations beginning September 14th and PC makers are already offering free upgrades to the OS for customers that purchase Windows 98 SE-based systems now. The Windows Me promotion will run for an unspecified limited time and then Microsoft will revert the product to its original $109 price; the full version of Windows Me costs $209