Debuted last week for customers worldwide, the Windows Upgrade Option Program is designed to deliver customers and small businesses that buy designated PCs with premium versions of Windows Vista pre-installed free upgrades to equivalent flavors of Windows 7 once the operating system becomes available. The initiative is meant to feed consumers’ appetite for Windows 7 that could hurt Windows Vista sales and to make waiting for the next iteration of the Windows client drop pointless.

1. What is the Program Eligibility Period?

June 26, 2009 to January 31, 2010 – Only PCs preinstalled with qualifying Vista editions have to be acquired starting with June 26, but no later than January 31, 2010, in order to be eligible for a free Windows 7 upgrade through the Upgrade Option Program.

2. What are the qualifying Vista SKUs? To which Windows 7 edition will free upgrades be possible?

– Windows Vista Home Premium Upgrade free upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade
– Windows Vista Home Premium Full free upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade More »

According to John Battelle’s Search blog, Microsoft is trying out a new incentive program to try and promote Windows Live Search. The program is targeted at enterprise customers who have large numbers of desktop PCs that their employees use for Internet access.

Signing up for the program involves a company telling Microsoft how many PCs it wishes to enroll, then distributing a “Browser Helper Object”—a plugin for Internet Explorer—supplied by Microsoft on said machines. The BHO is used to measure search usage on the PCs and send the results back to Microsoft. The use of Internet Explorer 7 is required for participation in the program. More »