Imagine, for a moment, that you're in Steve Ballmer's (probably quite sweaty and over-excited) shoes: the Windows 8 launch has been a bit of a flop, so what do you do? That's right, jack the price up fivefold -- because that will totally make more people want to buy your operating system.
In case you didn't realise, the current quite-reasonable prices for Windows 8 aren't set to last. At the moment, you can go snag yourself a copy of Windows 8 Pro for just £25, which is a pretty decent deal. Come February 1st, however, that price is gonna soar to $199, or about £125 if Microsoft keeps its dollars-to-pounds the same. If you don't need all the features in Windows 8 Pro and are happy with standard, you'll be able to buy that for $119, or around £80 here.
Whilst this might not seem like the brightest move Microsoft's ever made, I'm not sure it's as much of a mistake as some would have you believe. Come February, Windows 8 will have been out for three whole months. That's a lot of time for people to upgrade from Windows 7, and pretty much everyone who was going to upgrade will have upgraded by January.
What Microsoft's doing, then, is jacking the price up to capture new-PC buyers. Face it: if you're buying a new PC, you're most likely going to want to plump for the latest and greatest version of Windows, whether it's £120 or £25 -- £120 is about what the new version of Windows has always costed. It's a pricing strategy that's always worked for Microsoft, and there's no reason for it to stop now.
Still, don't let that catch you out: if you're gonna be wanting a copy of Windows 8 in the future, make sure you go buy a copy right the hell now. Trust me, it only takes like 20 miserable minutes, and it'll save you a buttload of cash in the future. It's not like you're doing anything productive anyway. [Microsoft via TechRadar]