Microsoft announced the price points for their new, much hyped Windows 7 operating system on Wednesday. The product is slated for release later this year.
The software giant’s monopolistic approach to doing business has backfired in the past few years, starting with the release of the much maligned Windows Vista in January 2007. After Vista users experienced security, compatibility, functionality and pricing issues at the time of release, a massive backlash ensued and Microsoft has been trying to stop the bleeding ever since. Microsoft’s dominance of the operating system market was challenged in 2008 as their market share dropped below 90% for the first time ever, while competitor Apple gained their highest market share in the company’s recent history.
Hoping to stem the tide of criticism, Microsoft has changed their MO for their new operating system, releasing a public beta for free (which is still available for download from the company’s Web site.) The Windows 7 Beta has received overwhelmingly good reviews as it fixed many of the issues that plagued its predecessor, and many people have found that the “Beta” version is good enough to use as their day-to-day operating system. With all of the hype, Microsoft is hoping that Windows 7 will help them retake their lost market share and, as such, introduced more aggressive price points then the those used for Vista:
- Firstly, beginning Friday and running through July 11th, customers currently using a PC running Windows XP or Vista will be eligible to receive an early upgrade price of $49 for Windows 7′s Home Edition and 99$ for the Professional Edition. This is a record low price for Microsoft and I suggest PC users take advantage of this before the July 11th deadline. This is a limited time offer and can be bought through Microsoft, Amazon, Best Buy and most other major retailers.
- Interestingly enough, also beginning Friday, customers who buy a copy of Vista (or a PC that comes equipped with Vista) will receive a free upgrade to Windows 7 when the software hits shelves. DO NOT BUY A PC TODAY, WAIT TILL TOMORROW.
- When the full version of Windows 7 is released, customers upgrading from Vista or XP will pay $119 for the Home Edition, $199 for the Professional Edition or $219 for the Ultimate Edition. This is a $40 cut from price Microsoft charged for the Vista Home upgrade, although the Professional and Ultimate versions are similarly priced. Users who need a clean copy of Windows and are not upgrading from Vista or XP will be set back $199 for the Home Edition, $299 for the Professional and $319 for Ultimate. The Ultimate and Professional editions are, again, on par with the price charged for their Vista counterparts, while the Home edition is down from the $239 price tag on its Vista predecessor.
Even though Microsoft is charging lower rates for Windows 7, they still have found themselves undercut by the boys in Cupertino who, at the Apple keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference a few weeks ago, announced that the newest version of Mac OS X, dubbed “Snow Leopard,” will be available to current Mac users for only $29.
Windows 7 is currently slated for an October 22nd release. In the meantime, the Beta version is still available for free from the Microsoft Web site and will continue to function until March 2010, at which point users will be forced to upgrade and reinstall the operating system.
To try Windows 7 for yourself, visit Microsoft’s Web site.
Ben Wagner is a technology contributor for Rhombus. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ben_wagner.