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Acer ultrabook customers to get free Windows 8 Pro upgrades

Acer has announced that it will provide free Windows 8 Pro upgrades to customers who purchase a Windows 7-based ultrabook now.

The deal is available to those buying the Acer Aspire M3, M5, S3, or S5 between 2 June of this year and 31 January 2013. Microsoft is offering a £14.99 Windows 8 Pro upgrade to anyone who purchases a Windows 7 PC in the same timeframe, and Acer has said that it will refund the price of that upgrade for ultrabook buyers.

"The latest Acer Ultrabook deserves the latest operating system, so upgrade your Acer Ultrabook to Windows 8 through the Microsoft Upgrade Program and then Acer will refund the cost of your upgrade," Acer said on its Windows upgrade site. "Just our way of keeping you and your Acer ultra."

Once Microsoft releases Windows 8, which is scheduled for late October, Acer will add a link to its website where ultrabook buyers can submit refund claims with their Microsoft order number and ultrabook serial number.

For those who bought a Windows machine before the upgrade cut-off, Microsoft is offering a $39.99 (£25) Windows 8 Pro upgrade to anyone with a Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 device.

Acer has put a lot of effort into the ultrabook category. But according to data from Gartner this week, ultrabooks had little impact on overall PC shipments during the second quarter and are still considered to be in the early adopter phase. Gartner predicted that Acer "will most likely lower the ultrabook price faster than other vendors."

In other Windows 8 news, Mary Jo Foley has reported that Microsoft will probably not offer the full boxed version of Windows 8 at retail stores. She cited a system builder licensing document from a contact, which said Microsoft will "only offer an upgrade version of Windows 8 through the retail channel."

This likely won't affect too many Windows users - most get their Windows upgrades by buying a new PC pre-loaded with the OS, upgrading from a previous version, or through volume-licensing deals.

If you're doing something like building a PC from scratch and want Windows 8, you will likely be able to buy a system builder license for the OS at an undetermined price, Foley said.

Microsoft recently announced plans for Windows To Go, a small, bootable USB drive that will allow for the easy transport of your entire managed corporate desktop.