The overwhelming majority of copies of Vista will be purchased preinstalled on new PCs, but that fact of life doesn’t keep hope from springing up on Wall Street or in Redmond. The latest illustration came late last night as Microsoft Unveiled New Ways for Consumers to Get Windows Vista:
Microsoft Corp. today detailed three new methods for customers looking to buy, upgrade or license multiple copies of Windows Vista™, the new operating system that will be available worldwide on Jan. 30. Windows Anytime Upgrade, Windows Vista Family Discount and Windows Marketplace will provide customers with greater flexibility in obtaining the new operating system and will ensure they have the edition of Windows Vista that matches their needs.
Taking them in a slightly different order:
Windows Anytime Upgrade
The general outline of Windows Anytime Upgrade has been known for sometime, but Microsoft confirmed that the PC vendors will act as middlemen in the upgrade purchase and will presumably get a cut as well as handle any service calls. The retail pricing is generally much the same as the delta in prices for retail boxed copies, which is hardly a bargain, but the Home Basic to Home Premium upgrade for $79 instead of $40 seems like an outrageous assault on the home user’s pocketbook. (The Business to Ultimate upgrade is pricey too – $139 instead of $100). It’s hard to figure if this is an incentive for OEMs to ship Premium preinstalled or part of the famous Vista upsell, but as I have observed before, the consumer who brings his shiny new PC home and finds out that he has to get out his credit card to get the glitzy Vista user interface isn’t going to be a happy camper.
Microsoft launched their spiffed up Windows Marketplace in August, but it’s mostly been a venue for a little hardware and some games and smaller applications with the novelty that the latter were downloadable using their Digital Locker technology. Now however, they will be offering upgrade editions of Vista and full copies of Office 2007. I suspect that offering Vista is a waste of time and that offering Office upgrades might be a better plan, but there’s nothing wrong with digital delivery if you can persuade the customers of that fact.
Windows Vista Family Discount
Talk about a waste of time. If you are one of the odd ducks (in the US and Canada) who wants to ante up for a full price retail (complete or upgrade) copy of Vista Ultimate before June 30, you can also get two additional licenses of Vista Home Premium for other PCs in the home for $49.99 each. The price isn’t bad, but the number of folks with 3 fully Vista capable machines sitting about the house and a burning desire to upgrade has got to be limited to the fanboy contingent.
There’s no formal announcement yet, but you can now check out Windows Marketplace for the new look at www.windowsmarketplace.com. Basically, Microsoft has mapped its Xbox Live Marketplace to the PC space and users can purchase a variety of software and other downloadable digital goodies using the Digital Locker technology announced last September. Liveside has more (including the as yet unrealized expectation of a renaming to Windows Live Marketplace), as does Ed Bott who came upon the link interestingly embedded in a beta Windows Vista setup screen and notes that it seems to be yet another stealth Microsoft announcement:
By my calculations, this site should be open for business at noon, Pacific Daylight Time, on Monday, August 28. It’s a curiously soft launch. No one from Microsoft has pitched this story to me, and the only mention I’ve seen online is this short blurb at LiveSide.
Windows Vista was one of the two big themes of PDC05, but I’m having a hard time pointing out new news. In the words of Paul Thurrott, “There isn’t really anything new to say about Windows Vista. We already knew just about everything there is to know.”
- There is going to be extensive beta testing with roughly monthly Community Technical Previews (CTP). But the Community seems to be just MSDN and TechNet subscribers and technical beta program testers.
- Speaking of the sidebar, it isn’t actually in the version 5219 bits handed out to attendees but will be in the October CTP. The mini-apps that can run in the sidebar are now termed “gadgets.” Somewhat confusingly, that’s also the name for the mini-apps that run at start.com and on Windows Sideshow auxiliary displays and they now jointly have a web site to encourage developers to create them.
- 30 ISVs announced plans for optimized Vista apps and there will be “a new service within Windows Marketplace called Digital Locker, which will be available in the Windows Vista timeframe” was announced to promote same.
- New Windows Vista home page