Just how desperate is Microsoft to get customers to relinquish their death grip on its nearly decade-and-a-half old operating system, Windows XP? It's now offering customers $100 USD to get rid of their old Windows XP PC -- although some restrictions do apply.
The caveat is that you have to trade in your computer at a Microsoft Store, and you have to buy a new Windows 8.1 machine that costs $599 USD or more (limiting the maximum discount is roughly 16 percent).
The good news is that most of the laptops and desktops at Microsoft stores are relatively new, so it's unlikely that Amazon.com, Newegg, and other online retailers will be able to offer a better deal, on average.
Microsoft has previously offered a $50 USD gift card for those who traded in XP machines. By contrast the new deal is simply a direct discount, redeemable instantly off your purchase.
The initiative won't likely do Microsoft any great favors financially, given that it already was rumored to have cut Windows 8.1 licensing fees on low cost machines from $50 USD to $15 USD (which would indicate an $85 USD loss on the current deal, if accurate). But the deal isn't quite that bad for Microsoft as it creates goodwill with its OEM allies who are grumbling about the impact of poor Windows 8.x sales on their bottom line. Plus Windows 8 comes with the Windows Store, and Microsoft gets a cut of app revenue.
Windows 8.1 has been met with tepid casual consumer and enthusiast response, outside of tablet devices, which seem to perform quite well with the new Metro user interface. Microsoft has promised for a second time to repair Windows 8 for non-touch devices with the Windows 8.1 Update 1 and future follow-ups later this year.
Windows XP computers are still found in vast quantities in many parts of the world. While they're now in the minority in the U.S., Microsoft's figures suggest that when the April termination of support for the platform rolls around 65 percent of users in China -- the world's most populous nation -- will still be using Windows XP. Unfortunately there's not enough $100 USD discounts to solve that dilemma.