Windows 7 Pricing Announced, Pre-Order Discounts Available

27 Comments

windows-7-logoAlthough Windows Upgrade Program details are trickling out from OEMs, the more important news may be the actual pricing for Windows 7. Microsoft (s MSFT) announced the prices this morning for both full licenses and upgrade packages:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium: $119.99 upgrade, $199.99 full
  • Windows 7 Professional: $199.99 upgrade, $299.99 full
  • Windows 7 Ultimate: $219.99 upgrade, $319.99 full

In my opinion, the pricing is high, but expected. There’s a perception out there that Windows 7 is really a fix for Vista. A service pack, if you will. From that standpoint, these prices seem high. To help offset that, you can take advantage of a special price discount by pre-ordering Windows 7.

Starting tomorrow in the U.S., Canada and Japan, you can pre-order the Home Premium version for $49.99 or the Professional version for $99.99. Residents of the UK, France and Germany will be offered a discount starting on July 15. These deals are for a limited time only at this point.

I can’t help but wonder if Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot with this pricing to a point. Granted, most consumers don’t know the cost of a Windows license since it’s typically hidden in the cost of a device. Hardware makers don’t pay nearly as much as the full consumer OS pricing either, so they usually pass on costs that are less than retail. But there’s a perception issue that Microsoft has to manage with this pricing. Consumers are starting to get savvy about free and low-cost Linux distros. Apple (s AAPL) is marketing its Snow Leopard version of OS X, also in October ironically, as a $29 cost. People won’t talk about the low-priced OEM licenses for Windows 7. They’ll be talking about the visible retail prices, and that could drive them away in bits and pieces.

While I think Windows 7 is a solid improvement over Vista, I have a hard time justifying the retail pricing. Do you?

27 Comments

Certain

My problem isn’t so much the price as it is the licenses. Many homes nowadays have multiple PC’s. I have 3 myself. I would love to see an option where I could spend the 320 for my Ultimate OS and then like 30 bucks a piece for the 2 other licenses for my other PC’s. I know I could get the upgrade, but I don’t want those. I don’t want to be tethered to an old OS. When ever I get a new one, I like the install to be “from the ground up” so to speak. I was hoping for multiple licenses this time around. Not to have to spend $960 bucks for OS’s for my 3 PC’s.

MobileMe

Micro$oft pushed price in the hunter ads thinking they were smart. Now they just look stupid.

Apple is now cheaper than Micro$oft by a huge margin. Cannot wait for another Buy a Mac ad, highlighting Micro$soft’s hypocricy…

Windows Live

MobileMe;
I just purchased a laptop for $649. With GREAT specs. Now, would I rather have a gaming laptop running Windows 7 (649+219=868) or a similar laptop running Snow Leopard (a normal white MacBook) (1218+39=1257)? Oh, and for that MacBook, I need Windows. So, 319.99 for Windows 7. Equals way too much. Sorry. But I guess I’m a PC.

Derek S

Will we be able to pre-order Windows 7 Ultimate? And can you upgrade from Windows Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 professional?

Ben

i agree that the retail pricing is too high. and i’m disappointed that there doesn’t seem to be a discount for Ultimate pre-orders.

but i’ll just buy OEM disks. retail is such a ripoff.

Tom Reestman

I think Microsoft blew the retail pricing. It’s odd, too, because even though most Win7 licenses will come via PC purchases, the retail price is responsible for the public’s perception on if it costs too much. Perhaps that’s why they did lower it slightly for Home Premium, but I don’t think it was enough.

On the other hand, I give Microsoft kudos for the pre-order pricing. A $49 Home Premium upgrade is a no-brainer, as it’s clear Win7 is easily worth that much over Vista. It’s only for 16 days, which sucks, but I wonder if that’s a ploy so they can extend it another month or so for some good PR.

Further, more kudos for giving all (well, most) new PC buyers starting tomorrow a free upgrade. I expected this maybe two months before the rollout, but not four. It was smart, though, because it includes the critical back to school season. It basically addresses any reservations one may have in buying a PC now with Win7 coming in the fall.

Pinky

Unless Windows 7 isn’t the saviour that all the Microsoft fans hope it turns into.

If it’s just Vista with a new front end, then the results are going to be pretty bad for Redmond. I use both Macs and Windows and find them equally capable but have experienced a lot of issues with our one Vista machine. Issues that continue to this day and they are pretty serious. I have yet (knock on wood) had to reinstall Leopard and yet some clients (including us) have had to reinstall Vista numerous times. I doubt that Win 7 will be the white knight coming to save the heathen but time will tell… The absurdly high pricing will potentially drive some from Microsoft. Maybe that’s a good thing. Those that bail will probably be unhappy with Apple’s products too. Who knows. Vista became a major fail for Redmond in a rather short list of failures.

Josh

Where is the discounted pre-order windows 7 ultimate upgrade for current vista ultimate users?
This is crap, microsoft’s inequitable pricing practices are going to drive me to apple.

Why would microsoft drive it’s customers away?

spinedoc

I’m thrilled with the prices, and I’m also thrilled with Windows 7. I purchased six (6) Vista ultimate licenses (Ouch) at retail, so to upgrade them all to professional tomorrow for $600 bucks is pretty amazing. I know it’s not the retail price that most will see. I do wish they had a family pack or something though.

Apples to apples Snow leopard is an upgrade, and Apple charges for every update. I don’t know what the count is, but I’d be curious how many paid upgrades from Apple have come out since Vista was released and what the price breakdown would be, of course comparing upgrade to upgrade, as most seem quite happy to compare the full vista version with the Apple upgrade pricing even though this makes no sense to me.

Pinky

None. Leopard (if memory serves) came out after Vista. It also came out with its own share of issues and had some of the more effected calling Leopard ‘Apple’s Vista’.

Apple DOES charge for ‘second decimal place upgrades’ meaning that from 10.4 to 10.5 it was not a free update but from 10.5.1 to 10.5.2 it WAS a free update. Apple is still on 10.5.x and Microsoft is still trying to either sucker people in to Vista or a furious bait and switch with the potential of Windows 7 to save their bacon.

I think it is telling that Microsoft doesn’t acknowledge what every one already knows: Vista is radioactive and most businesses have stayed away from it.

The people that Microsoft are really abusing in this are the retail customers that were stuck having to use Vista because Microsoft shoved it down their throats. Abusing your customers isn’t a good idea but Microsoft can get away with it.

Having fire sale upgrade prices to Windows 7 would be acknowledging that Vista was a bomb (in the business realm) and a ripoff ( in the residential realm) and Redmond’s hubris can’t have that happen… Just like having a ‘Family Pack’ upgrade would be seen as throwing a bone to Apple and their wildly popular ‘Family Pack’ bundles.

Greg

In my view, the retail prices are $100 too high for each edition. (I don’t really see OEM prices as relevant to the discussion at all, since the only people I’ve ever met who’ve bought the OEM versions were those who built their own machines… an ever-decreasing group of people.)

That said, it is somewhat interesting that this is the first version of Windows where they haven’t raised the price compared to the prior version. This suggests that the Vista price hike (compared to XP) was a little too much for the retail market.

AndyP

Wait, I think I know why the price is so jacked up. They must be included the upcoming fines (supposedly in the billions of dollars) from the EU that they will soon be hit with. See, they are going to recoup their loses one way or another. It is purely a business decision.

AndyP

I think Win7 will be the best OS that MS has ever released but its retail price is too high, especially for a netbook user who wants the Pro edition. I don’t expect it to fly off of shelves at Best Buy, but as always they will receive most sales from the pre-install deals they make with vendors and not from trying to sell directly to the public.

CSMR

Important to emphasize it’s just perceptions.
Retail pricing is not important to us, although yes it may influence perceptions for better or worse. OEM pricing (not just pricing to OEMs but prices for OEM disks) is.
Apple’s pricing is not a comparison because you can only install on Apple hardware and that’s where they have their profit margin.

Jake

The only people I know who are calling Windows 7 a service pack don’t know what they’re talking about so it’s a shame to hear you say that too Kevin. It’s also extremely small-minded to focus on the retail pricing which, lets be honest, will only effect the miniscule number of users who pay for retail disks and won’t take advantage of the great pre-release offer announced today. Most people who go out and buy Windows buy OEM disks which cost considerably less and 99% of users get Windows on a new PC, as you well know.

The comparison with Snow Leopard is pretty poor considering that it’s widely regarded as a catch-up service pack. Christ, the name even suggests that it’s just a small update to Leopard.

Every site I’ve seen reporting this has been really positive (including Engadget and Gizmodo who are well known for criticising everything that Microsoft do) so it’s a shame to see an unnecessarily negative spin being put on it here.

Windows 7 will undeniably be the best OS on the market come October and the pricing for it seems about right to me – especially when you consider that the full retail price of Home Premium is cheaper than it was for Vista.

If you check you’ll find that it’s no longer cool to mindlessly bash Windows.

Kevin C. Tofel

Jake, if you’ll check you’ll find it’s no longer cool mindlessly put words in people’s mouths. ;) I think you’re reading the posts too fast and then reacting.

“The only people I know who are calling Windows 7 a service pack don’t know what they’re talking about so it’s a shame to hear you say that too Kevin” – I didn’t say that. I said, “There’s a perception out there that Windows 7 is really a fix for Vista. A service pack, if you will.” Not the same at all.

“It’s also extremely small-minded to focus on the retail pricing which, lets be honest, will only effect the miniscule number of users who pay for retail disks and won’t take advantage of the great pre-release offer announced today. Most people who go out and buy Windows buy OEM disks which cost considerably less and 99% of users get Windows on a new PC, as you well know.” I agree. In fact I did: “Granted, most consumers don’t know the cost of a Windows license since it’s typically hidden in the cost of a device. Hardware makers don’t pay nearly as much as the full consumer OS pricing either, so they usually pass on costs that are less than retail.”

Jake, I appreciate your many insightful comments here and I don’t want that to stop. But slow down, would ya? :) I don’t appreciate being called “small minded” unless I truly deserve it. I’m thinking not in this case, but of course, that’s just my opinion. Ping me direct via email if you disagree.

Jake

Sorry Kevin, I didn’t intend for that to come across as a personal attack so please don’t take it that way. I don’t hate you and I certainly don’t think you are small-minded :) That reference was directed at the point you were making, not you personally.

Perhaps I did read too much into your comments but saying that “There’s a perception out there that Windows 7 is really a fix for Vista. A service pack, if you will.” certainly seems like that’s what you’re suggesting – why say it if you didn’t mean to draw attention to the idea?

I do think that your post was unnecessarily negative and I do think it’s a shame that you’ve decided to take this position. You’re generally very fair and even handed which is what makes your opinion valuable, but not this time.

Anyway, let’s agree to disagree and forgive me if I’ve offended you.

Kevin C. Tofel

No worries and we can agree to disagree, of course. :) Perhaps I did a poor job of writing my ultimate point here: consumer perceptions of price and value are very important, more so in a down economy. As we both said, most folks pay the far lower, included cost of a license when buying a new system. But that doesn’t stem the consumer perception that Windows is a relatively expensive OS.

As I’ve said many times before and will continue to say again: Windows 7 is a great OS. Arguably better than XP and Vista. I don’t think I’ve ever “bashed” the OS. I simply feel for folks that bought XP machines, skipped Vista and will now have to pay $120 or more to upgrade. Then again, it’s their wallet, so they’ll vote with it, just as you and I will. :)

John in Norway

According to the BBC article I read it says:

‘Stand alone versions of Windows 7, that can run on more than one PC, will also be available.’

I’m not sure how to interpret that. Does it mean the OS isn’t closed like Apple’s or that the licence covers more than one machine?

ACF

I could not disagree more with your comparison between OSX and W7. The entry Mac laptop costs $999 whereas the entry Windows laptop at $500, at $350 for netbooks. Whether $550 or $400, Windows options start cheaper than Mac.

That being said, Microsoft still should do more for those of us who purchased Vista.

Luscious

I think I’ll wait for a notebook upgrade a few more months before jumping on Win 7 – no way I’m paying $320+tax for ultimate.

dbas

Retail pricing is really rip-off if you already bought Vista. Windows 7 is what Vista should have been. Vista just had so many problems that Windows 7 is nothing but service pack for Vista and for Vista customers this should be nominal upgrade like $29.

Jake

I disagree. I’ve never had a single problem with Vista and have been using it since RTM in 2006. It’s definitely been worth it for me. Anyone who has been struggling with Vista since SP1 has nobody but themselves to blame IMO.

AndyP

I agree. Vista was so bad and has done so much damage to MS that as a kind gesture they should offer a steep discount to all those who suffered through that nightmare on redmond street.

Bcreekski

Yes. I have 2 desktops and a laptop. You bet that I would like a “family pack”. My laptop actually runs XP and would not run Vista. The Upgrade Advsiso indicates that it will run 7.

Bcreekski

No problem with pricing when it is good product. I will purchase 3 upgrades.

Kevin C. Tofel

Curious if your three upgrades are for one household. Some folks want to see a “family pack” for Windows 7, much as Apple is offering for $49 with Snow Leopard.

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