Microsoft Isn’t Axing Windows 8.1 System Builder SKUs (Completely) After All

Yesterday Microsoft announced the pricing scheme for Windows 8.1 and stated that, instead of selling “upgrade” and standalone versions of its operating system, all purchases of the new code will be complete. Therefore, if you want to move a non-Windows 8 PC to Windows 8.1, or want to build a new PC from scratch, the same software will work in each case.

This led to confusion, as it appeared that Microsoft was halting sales of its “System Builder” builds of Windows, at least to consumers. After much digging (I was not the only confused party), I’ve managed to figure out that I was wrong yesterday and that Microsoft isn’t killing System Builder SKUs entirely.

Instead, Microsoft is shifting gravity away from System Builder builds except for OEM partners and others that buy its operating system in bulk from distribution partners. For the average person, Windows 8.1’s two normal SKUs (regular, and “Pro”) will replace what System Builder SKUs provided previously: the ability to build a new PC from scratch and install Windows on it.

I apologize for the error.

So you will be able to buy a System Builder copy of Windows 8.1 in certain locations, such as Amazon. However, you will not find that code at Best Buy or any other normal retailer. There you will only find the two normal versions of Windows 8.1.

The question now becomes why you would want to buy a System Builder copy of Windows 8.1 when the regular build will do what you need? Perhaps a minor cost differential, or you just really don’t want support from Microsoft with your operating system.

What matters here is that Microsoft has killed System Builder SKUs of Windows — in spirit — for everyone but OEM partners, though the enterprising will still be able to dredge up a copy. The more important news here is that Windows 8.1 won’t be sold as an upgrade, but I wanted to correct the record after my mistake.

Top Image Credit: Dell Inc.