Firm Offers Vista - 7 Upgrade, Months Before MS

Puget Systems, AKA Puget Custom Computers, headquartered in Kent, WA based PC etailer will begin offering free Windows 7 upgrades to customers who buy new Windows Vista PCs starting Sunday, according to their website.

Its upgrade program will predate Microsoft's own upgrade program by months. Microsoft's offering is scheduled to begin on July 1st.

Here's what their site says:
Puget Systems is pleased to announce FREE upgrades to Windows 7 on select purchases starting 3/1/09. Customers who purchase a qualifying computer with Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit or Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit are eligible for an upgrade to the corresponding version of Windows 7 64-bit upon release. To redeem this upgrade, the computer must be shipped back to Puget Systems for installation.
Shipping the computer back may seem to be an inconvenience. The XP-to-Vista upgrade program simply gave end users an upgrade disc, and they had to install it yourself. However, there were problems, and in fact, we had some ourselves: specifically with finding some device drivers for a laptop.

In reality, this might end up costing end users some shipping costs (and time without their PCs), but with a much smoother upgrade process. Unfortunately they will wipe the hard drive, so you are responsible for any data you might lose, and you will be required to reinstall everything when you get it back.

The company will only be upgrading a limited number of machines per week on a "first come, first served" basis, so they state that turnaround time may vary, and you may be asked to wait.

The offer is scheduled to expire on 6/15/09. At that point Puget Systems will probably assume the Microsoft offer will be close to starting. The company does note that they reserve the right to change this date at any time.

This upgrade is being done at the sole cost of Puget Systems and according to their CEO, Jon Bach, will cost the company approximately $200 per PC. Of course, they are getting tons of publicity from this program.

The company sells desktops and notebooks, but is an Internet-only operation.