Peter I wouldnt dispute what you say but my original point was based on someome like myself with more modest means wanting to have windows 8 on a strightforward laptop, nothing as modern as touch screens.
I dont think any amount of backup or PC savvy is going to cough up for 100 odd dollars to change my Microsoft Word for the latest version, I also have to pay for several more updates which as I said before come to about 200 USD (so far)
The Win 8 blurb agrees with you that it is all straightforward which it no doubt is and although I dont pretend to be an expert I am capable of installing new programs. What I am saying is that if I follow the assistant I am well out of pocket on just the known bits.
If you start out with a nice new PC in the first place its going to have in most cases the latest version of everthing already.
A small example (nothing to do with Photography)- Win Media centre has to be replaced, I am sure your new laptop will have its replacemet/new version in situ at no extra cost.