Microsoft Holds the Line on Windows 7 Pricing, Launches Limited Time Promotion

This is from this morning's WinInfo, but I want to make sure everyone caught it.

Microsoft this morning announced its retail pricing plans for Windows 7. First, the good news: Contrary to rumors, the company is not raising prices. The bad news? It's not significantly lowering prices either. In fact, most versions of Windows 7 will simply cost exactly the same as their Windows Vista predecessors.

In the US, three versions of Windows 7 will be widely available at retail, Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate. Pricing for the Upgrade versions of these products breaks down as follows:

Home Premium (Upgrade) - $119.99
Professional (Upgrade) - $199.99
Ultimate (Upgrade) - $219.99

Full product pricing includes:

Home Premium (Full) - $199.99
Professional (Full) - $299.99
Ultimate (Full) - $319.99

In each case, Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate is priced identically to its Windows 7-based predecessor. Windows 7 Home Premium (Upgrade) is $10, or 8 percent, cheaper than Windows Vista Home Premium (Upgrade). And Windows 7 Home Premium (Full) is $40, or 17 percent, less expensive than its predecessor. (Similar pricing is available in other markets as well.)

To help avert criticism, Microsoft and its retail partners will temporarily offer steep discounts on the Upgrade versions of Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional only. Consumers who preorder these products online between June 26, 2009 and July 11, 2009 in the US and Canada will pay just $49.99 for Windows 7 Home Premium (Upgrade) (a $70 savings) and $99.99 for Windows 7 Professional (Upgrade) (a $100 savings). The deals will be made available at Amazon, Best Buy, and Microsoft, and at other participating online retailers. Consumers in Japan, France, Germany, and the UK can also preorder Windows 7 for similarly short time frames, though the exact dates vary.

Microsoft also announced that it would allow consumers who purchase a Windows Vista-based PC between June 26, 2009 and January 31, 2009 to receive a free copy of Windows 7. Called the Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program, this program is global and completely free. Microsoft hopes it will address the problems caused by Windows 7 not shipping in time for the back to school PC selling season, which is currently underway.

The company also revealed that it will offer consumers in the EU the Full versions of Windows 7 only through at least December 31, 2009 because of antitrust issues there which preclude it from bundling Internet Explorer with the OS. During this time period, EU users (excluding the UK) will be able to purchase the Full versions of Windows 7 at the Upgrade prices. Traditional Upgrade versions of Windows 7 will appear in the EU eventually, Microsoft says, at which point it will return to its usual pricing structure.

There's a lot more going on here, including a few pricing issues that have yet to be resolved. For more information, please refer to my Windows 7 Pricing article on the SuperSite for Windows.

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