Although 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?