I'm wondering if MS is going this route so they won't have to offer any support.
I'm sure the price will be more affordable compared to previous retail versions.
Rumours are that Microsoft have plans to do away with full retail copies of it's next os. Now like with all other windows rumours I wouldn't hold your breath but still.....
Reference:Microsoft is reportedly planning to kill its retail full edition of Windows 8, offering simplified upgrade and System Builder options for home users. The software maker has typically sold upgrade, full, and OEM System Builder copies of its Windows software at retailers. Windows Weekly co-hosts Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley have both revealed that Microsoft is planning to remove the full edition option in favor of a System Builder option for home users building a PC.
In the past, home users wishing to install a full copy of Windows could either purchase a pricey boxed copy or a cheaper OEM edition. The OEM edition, that was technically for system builders, could be sold by retailers with a piece of hardware — but many have offered this as a standalone purchase. Full boxed copies come with 90 days of support via email and telephone after activation, whereas OEM copies lack the support option. Thurrott and Foley both speculate that the full edition will no longer be available in stores, replaced with an OEM System Builder option for those building a new PC. The change marks a shift in Microsoft's licensing plans for Windows 8 and simplifies the offering to consumers on the web and in retail stores.
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the existence of a System Builder version for consumers earlier this month, revealing that Mac users would have to use the edition to install Windows 8. Microsoft will release a Windows 8 Pro upgrade offer for existing Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 users — priced at just $39.99. If the rumors are true, expect to see just upgrade and System Builder options on the shelves in late October. Ultimately, the change is good for consumers providing Microsoft plans to offer its System Builder version at a similar price to its previous OEM copies of Windows 7.
Microsoft may scrap full retail edition of Windows 8, offer OEM and upgrade only | The Verge
According to Paul Thurrott it's all true:
Reference:Microsoft announced on Wednesday that Windows 8 will ship to customers via software upgrades or with new PC purchases on October 26, 2012. This report confirms my exclusive report from last week, when I revealed on the Windows Weekly podcast that the Windows 8 software would not ship in full product versions but only in upgrade packaging.
Note the way this event is described on Microsoft’s Blogging Windows blog. “Steven Sinofsky announced at Microsoft’s annual sales meeting that customers will be able to get Windows 8—whether in upgrade fashion or on a new PC—starting on October 26th,” the post reads.
On the July 12 episode of Windows Weekly, I revealed that there will be no retail full versions of Windows 8—only upgrade versions. (I mentioned this again in Short Takes a day later.) Since then, I’ve received the documentation supporting this claim: “For Windows 8, Microsoft will only offer an upgrade version of Windows 8 through the retail channel,” the document reads. “This is the license an end user would purchase who wants to upgrade their current PC from a prior version of Windows to Windows 8.”
Previously, Microsoft offered both full and upgrade versions of Windows at retail, with the full version aimed at those who want to install Windows over a non-qualifying previous version of Windows or on a newly built or purchased PC that came with no OS. For Windows 8, all currently supported versions of Windows qualify for the upgrade. So for all intents and purposes, all customers qualify for an upgrade version of Windows 8.
Before then, of course, Microsoft needs to complete Windows 8. The company said previously that it would do so—a process called release to manufacturing (RTM)—by the first week of August.