By Harry McCracken | Friday, July 31, 2009 at 11:12 am
Microsoft has finished up announcing pricing details for Windows 7 by disclosing the cost for the three-user Windows 7 Home Premium Family Pack and for Windows Anytime Upgrades. (The latter option lets you the unlock features from higher-end versions of Windows.)
The Family Pack will go for $149.99, or $50 per user– $10 more per user than Apple’s five-user Leopard Family Pack, but an attractive deal considering that three stand-alone copies of 7 Home Premium list for $359.97. But the odd thing is, the Family Pack isn’t so much a new version of Windows as a limited-time sale. The Microsoft blog post says it’s be available “until supplies last.” (I think they mean “while supplies last” or (“until supplies run out,”) but you get the idea.)
Microsoft’s entitled to charge whatever it wants for Windows, but it’s a shame that it’s not making the extremely appealing idea of buying Windows in bulk at a discount into a permanent option for its customers. If Apple is able to do it, why not Microsoft? And the notion of doing it with no well-defined deadline smacks of infomercial hype. (If supplies run out, I suspect Microsoft could crank out some more copies if it chose.) We don’t know whether supplies will run out halfway through October 22nd, Windows 7’s launch date, or whether copies will still be plentiful on October 22nd, 2010.
Meanwhile, pricing for Windows 7 Anytime Upgrades involves a complicated matrix of original Windows 7 versions and upgrade versions. It makes my head hurt just to think about it, but ZDNet’s Ed Bott has done the math and says that Microsoft will gouge people who move from Windows 7 Professional to Windows 7 Ultimate Edition. Ultimate has very few features that aren’t in Professional, and Microsoft has said that only a “small set” of customers will want it. So maybe it’s just discouraging people from performing an unnecessary upgrade by making the pricing unattractive…