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.