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September 22, 2006

Microsoft plans single Vista DVD to snag upgrades

Posted by David Hunter at 11:47 AM ET.

As had been expected (see also [1]), Microsoft confirmed plans to ship all consumer versions of Vista on a single DVD all the better to enable “Windows Anytime Upgrades” to premium versions:

“The edition of Windows Vista that the customer chooses will then be activated by the product key,” Mike Burk, public relations manager for Windows Marketing Communications, said in an emailed statement.

“For instance, if a customer buys Windows Vista Home Premium from a retail store, the full version of Windows Vista will be included on the DVD.

“But because the customer chose and paid for Home Premium, the product key he or she receives will activate the Home Premium edition and its features and functionality.”

Windows Anytime Update lets users purchase updates online. After downloading a digital key, the user inserts the original DVD to install additional software components. Microsoft declined to comment on pricing for the upgrades.

Of course, retail sales are the smallest part of the pie and the question really is how this will work for Vista preinstalled on PC hardware since some vendors don’t provide easily mislaid disks, but instead put all the bits on the hard drive. These days a few GB here or there aren’t such a big deal and if cleverly done, only version differences would be stored, not full separate copies.

Then there’s the always pesky question of dividing the loot:

Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group, told that Microsoft is expected to share the upgrade revenues with system manufacturers. He based his comments on conversations with OEMs.

The upgrade feature will be especially beneficial to small and medium-sized firms which often purchase systems with the consumer version of Windows XP and later realise that they require the additional features in XP Pro, Enderle said.

I expect the OEMs get to handle support calls as part of the deal too. I’ll also be interested to see how many vendors lowball prices by including Vista Home Basic in the system price and letting the user ante up separately for the fancy Aero user experience.

Finally, there’s one other party to be heard from: hackers. I wonder what their share will be?

Filed under Aero, General Business, Marketing, Microsoft, OS - Client, Technologies, Windows Vista

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One Response to “Microsoft plans single Vista DVD to snag upgrades”

  1. More Vista Marketing Magic -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] 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. [...]

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