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Microsoft, PC makers begin taking preorders for Windows 8 software & devices

Microsoft continues to build toward the Oct. 26 launch of its new Windows 8 operating system, as it began taking preorders for the software on Friday, while PC makers also started accepting advance orders of their new Windows 8-powered machines.

In a post to the official Windows Team Blog, Microsoft Communications Manager Brandon LeBlanc revealed that customers can now reserve a packaged DVD of the Windows 8 Pro upgrade for $69.99 at select retailers. Participating retailers include, Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, Microsoft's retail stores, and more.

LeBlanc noted that the packaging for Windows 8 takes a "fresh approach," with five different illustrations available. The new packaging also utilizes paper-based materials to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel consumption while also reducing the packaging weight by 41 percent.

Microsoft's continued offering of boxed retail software is a stark contrast from Apple, which has opted to go digital-only with its latest operating system release, Mountain Lion. The OS X 10.8 upgrade is only available through the Mac App Store for existing Mac owners at a price of $19.99.

Windows users will also be able to go the digital route to upgrade to Windows 8 starting Oct. 26 through the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant at Those who choose that route will pay $39.99 for the upgrade.

Windows 8

The upgrade pricing for Windows 8 is less than previous releases of Microsoft's desktop operating system, but the company noted on Friday that those prices for both digital and retail are only good through Jan. 31, 2013.

In addition, as of Friday, customers can also preorder new PCs that will come preinstalled with Windows 8. Microsoft's OEM partners including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Samsung and Sony are all taking preorders for their latest PCs set to launch on Oct. 26.

Those who may have bought or will buy a Windows 7 PC between June 2 through the end of next January can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99. That offer will be redeemable starting with the launch of Windows 8 on Oct. 26.

Beyond Windows 8, Oct. 26 will also mark the debut of Microsoft's new Surface touchscreen tablets, designed to compete with Apple's iPad by running low-power ARM processors and an ARM-compatible version of Windows 8, dubbed Windows RT. Microsoft recently began a guerrilla marketing campaign to promote Surface, with some graffiti-style advertisements appearing in major cities across the U.S. near existing Apple retail stores.