Thursday, July 2, 2009

Microsoft announces Windows 7 prices

Windows 7 Home Premium packaging (image © Microsoft)

In the UK, Windows 7 will be sold at around half the normal retail price for the first few months after release.

Microsoft announced the deal, in which the Home Premium edition will cost £79.99, as part of the Windows 7 prices revealed today.

But that price is more than a promotional discount. Microsoft’s recent decision not to bundle its Internet Explorer web browser with the Windows 7 operating system in Europe means that only the full version, not the cheaper upgrade version, will be ready in Europe at the time of launch.

No upgrades for Europe

Microsoft is trying to avoid penalising those Windows Vista users who would have been eligible for the less expensive upgrade version by selling the full version to all European customers at a reduced price.

“We know that there are a number of customers that will just want the upgrade. It’s a lower price and they don’t need the full version,” says Leila Martine, Windows marketing leader in the UK.

Windows 7 screenshot (image © Microsoft)

“...So a consumer, irrespective of whether they are upgrading or putting it on a seven-year-old XP computer, can get Windows 7 for £79.99. That’s our way to ensure our customers are not being negatively impacted.”

The deal will bring the cost of a full version of Windows 7 for someone in the UK roughly in line with what an American customer will pay for the upgrade version, $119.99 (£72).

Full-priced Windows 7

When the introductory offer expires on December 31, Home Premium (the edition targeted at home users) will sell for £149.99. Meanwhile, the Home Professional edition (targeted at business users) will rise from £189.99 to £219.99 and Ultimate (the most complete package) from £199.99 to £229.99.

The Microsoft decision to not include its latest browser with Windows 7 in Europe was a response to the early 2009 European Commission judgment, which called Microsoft’s selling Internet Explorer as part of Windows a violation of a competition laws.

Browser bundling

The final difference to most consumers may be minor, however. Windows UK marketing leader Leila Martine says that PC makers are still free – and likely – to add Internet Explorer, a browser with which they are familiar, to the machines they sell: “We have a great deal of confidence that they are going to continue shipping with the browser.”

Microsoft has also outlined an upgrade deal for people who buy Vista PCs before January 31 2010, in which participating PC makers will offer Windows 7 for the Vista machine for free (or with a small charge for shipping and handling).

Another deal will let pre-order customers buy Home Premium for £49.99 and Home Professional for £99.99 between July 15 and August 14.


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