By Harry McCracken | Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 8:48 am
Microsoft has dropped one of the lat remaining veils relating to Windows 7 by announcing the OS upgrade’s pricing. It’s not exactly stunning that the company chose not to follow Gizmodo’s advice that Win 7 should be free for all Vista owners. But there are a number of price breaks associated with the rollout.
The largest and most interesting price cut is for folks who preorder Windows 7 right away: In the U.S, you’ll be able to reserve a copy from Best Buy, Amazon, or the Microsoft Store at a discount of more than 50 percent. This preorder price for the upgrade version of Windows 7 Home Premium, for instance, will be $49.99, versus a list price of $119.99.
Many people very sensibly wait to install new versions of Windows until a few months have passed, Microsoft has identified and fixed the worst bugs, and major issues with application and driver compatibility have been resolved. But $50 for Windows 7 is so cheap that I could see preordering a copy and salting it away for a bit after the OS ships on October 22nd.
Microsoft is saying that the preorder price break is good from tomorrow until July 11th (in the U.S.) or “while supplies last,” as if there’s’ a chance that the world will run out of copies of Windows 7.
The preorder offer is the closest Microsoft is coming to a “We’re sorry about Windows Vista–please give us another chance” deal. But the company is also instituting a permanent price cut for Windows 7 Home Premium compared to Vista: It’ll be $119.99 as an upgrade (Vista Home Premium was $129.99, and originally listed for $159.99 when Vista shipped in 2007) and $199.99 foor the full version (versus $239.99 for Vista Home Premium). Other Win 7 prices are the same as the current ones for equivalent Vista versions.
And as usual, most anyone who buys a Windows PC from here on out will qualify for a cheap upgrade to Windows 7 or a free one (not counting shipping costs).
Are reduced prices for Windows 7 a reflection of a lousy economy in which people are willing to forego pricey upgrades? An acknowledgment that the Vista debacle has left a lot of folks skeptical about Windows upgrades in general? A reaction to increased competition from Macs and Linux? Microsoft isn’t going to share the behind-the-scenes details of its rationale. But it’s probably a bit of all of the above, heavily skewed to the first two factors.
I feel a poll coming on: