In a surprise move, Microsoft Corp has pre-announced the pricing details of its Windows 2000 operating system, the first time it has gone public with this information before its software hits the market. Windows 2000, which is expected to ship on February 17 next year, appears to have been priced to lure users of Microsoft's Windows 95 and 98 systems onto the new business platform. Pricing will be broadly similar to that of the operating system's predecessor, NT4. Windows 2000 Professional will sell for $319. An upgrade from Windows NT will cost $149. The difference is that Microsoft is now offering a path for consumers to upgrade from Windows 95/98 for $219, previously users would have had to move NT outright. Encouraging users onto Windows 2000 could be a potential revenue driver MS that makes higher margins from its business operating systems than from its consumer offerings.