Accoding to the official Windows Vista blog, Microsoft is launching their upgrade program for Windows users who wish to purchase a new PC now, but want the security of being able to upgrade to Windows Vista when it is launched.
New PCs loaded with Windows XP or pre-installed with Microsoft Office 2003 software can be upgraded via the Express Upgrade to Windows Vista and Microsoft Office Technology Guarantee program. Express Upgrade will be available to consumers and small businesses from 26 Oct 2006 through 15 March 2007.
Windows Vista upgrades may be offered for free or at a discounted price (shipping and handling charges may also apply), so it pays to check with the particular PC manufacturer for details specific to their offer.
The company recomments looking for "Windows Vista Capable" PCs designated as "Premium Ready," as these PCs are designed to deliver the core Windows Vista experience. PCs carrying only the "Windows Vista Capable" logo may be eligible for the program, but the offer may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
In the US, the upgrade path includes the following:
# Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 --> Windows Vista Home Premium (nominal fee)
# Windows XP Professional --> Windows Vista Business (nominal fee)
# Windows XP Tablet PC Edition --> Windows Vista Business (nominal fee)
# Windows XP Professional x64 Edition --> Windows Vista Business 64 (nominal fee)
Other upgrades are available at 50% discount from the boxed product upgrade price, plus shipping and handling:
# Windows XP Home Edition --> Windows Vista Home Basic
# Windows XP Home Edition --> Windows Vista Home Premium
You can upgrade to the comparable edition of 2007 Microsoft Office when you purchase a PC pre-installed with qualifying Microsoft Office 2003 software. More details are at the Express Upgrade site.
Similar programs are available region-by-region for upgrading both Microsoft Office 2003 and Windows XP FPP to Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office. Consumers have to query their local retailers for the particulars.
More information: http://www.windowsvista.com/expressupgrade