Today’s leak of Vista prices reminded me that I needed to follow up on last Monday’s report of possible Vista discount upgrade offers in the offing for purchasers of PCs in the 4th quarter. Microsoft responded predictably as Tim Culpan and Fred Fishkin report for Bloomberg News:
Discussions are “ongoing,” said Windows director Kevin Kutz, who declined to comment further.
But while Microsoft was shy, others were not:
Amazon.com Inc., the largest online retailer, and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. are pressing Microsoft to decide quickly on how or whether to offer customers a coupon or discount for Vista. The software’s delay will cause the PC industry to lose about $4 billion in revenue this year, according to Gartner Inc. research. Windows runs almost 95 percent of the world’s PCs, making its new version a key driver of computer demand.
“It would be in the best interests of consumers and the industry to get it out there as soon as possible,” said Stephen DiFranco, vice president of consumer sales and marketing at Advanced Micro, the world’s second-largest maker of PC processors, in an interview. “They need to tell the world.”
As well they should because all the talk is just a further disincentive to purchasing a new PC now or in the fourth quarter or any time until the coupons arrive or Vista ships.
While all of the above is mostly predictable, there was an interesting twist – the Vista upgrades might not be free:
The final discount model, to be worked out between Microsoft and the computer designers, may include free upgrades for more expensive models, said Tim Li, chief financial officer at Quanta Computer Inc., which makes computers for Dell, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Lenovo Group Ltd.
“If you buy the Mercedes Benz model, they will give you the free coupon, but if you buy the Chrysler, of course you will have to pay an add-on,” Li said.
I suppose it’s an understandable temptation given all the flavors of Vista, some presumably with hefty price tags, but it ignores some consumer reality. Todd Bishop:
I spoke about this yesterday with longtime PC industry analyst Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, who said that offering the free upgrade “would be a sensible thing” for Microsoft to do under the circumstances. Charging holiday PC buyers to upgrade to Vista would be like “making everybody else take the hit for their production problems,” Kay said.
Of course, it begs an even more pressing consumer question – how many folks want to buy a new machine and then do an operating system upgrade from XP to Vista, free or not?