Although this is not a first, MS did the same thing with XP x64 for many XP users and also with Millennium to XP, it will still be welcome news and help to get over some of the media created image problems that MS has over Vista.
The details are not completely clear yet but TechARP do have a draft listing of what is being called the Windows 7 Technical Guarantee. This free upgrade, while this program does not apply to companies that purchased Vista under an Open License agreement they should still be able to upgrade if they purchased Software Assurance.
Read more here at TechARP
This is a consumer-oriented program targeted at individual consumers and small businesses that have purchased eligible PCs during the Program Eligibility Period. End users will have to meet these requirements to be deemed eligible for the upgrade to Windows 7 when it is released :
End users must purchase a new PC that is pre-installed with an eligible Windows Vista Operating System (OS), during the program eligibility window.
The PC must have a valid Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached.
The only Windows Vista versions eligible for the program are :
Windows Vista Home Premium
Windows Vista Business
Windows Vista Ultimate
* Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Starter Edition, and Windows XP (all editions) are not qualifying products under the program.
The Program does not support multiple upgrades for medium, large, or enterprise customers. Customers that want to upgrade multiple PCs should use the appropriate Microsoft Volume Licensing program. See www.microsoft.com/licensing for more details.