Microsoft Trying To Kill Off The Golden Windows 7 Goose

An article by CNET's Brooke Crothers caught my eye about a Windows 7 pricing conversation with Dell's Darrel Ward. Darrel's saying Windows 7 average selling price is set to be higher than either Vista or XP prices. What? Is Microsoft crazy? Are they ready to undo all their good work transparently and slowly rolling out Windows 7 in their very public beta and RC releases? Are they looking to wipe out all the good will Windows 7 has gained so far? You wonder if sometimes Redmond can't help but put themselves back in hot water.

It should be obvious but here are the reasons Microsoft shouldn't even consider a price increase for Windows 7.

* Vista upgraders and purchasers would like the product they already paid for. Remember all that frustration and time wasted upgrading to Vista? Vista admins and users sure do. We'd like a Windows release that works this time, and we'd like Microsoft to compensate us in some way for all our time and frustration, not charge us more for Windows 7, the operating system product Vista should have been. Hey, we were hoping for a free upgrade (or a low cost upgrade at the very least) as compensation, not a price increase.

* This won't help seduce XP users. If Microsoft was looking to convince Windows XP users to move from their cozy, comfortable OS and upgrade to Windows 7, this isn't the strategy to do it. Matter of fact, it's one more very tangible reason not to move. Charge me more to upgrade to an OS I never wanted anyway. That kind of reverse psychology might work of pre-teens but it won't sway many XP users, XP compatibility mode or no XP compatibility mode.

* Not going to help the battle against Linux. Linux may not be winning over desktops as rapidly as the faithful would prefer, but if anything, a price increase will cause many IT organizations to give their Windows 7 upgrade plans a second look. It's a great reminder of what IT managers (and CFOs) hate about the Microsoft licensing treadmill; rising costs, forced upgrades, and more licensing fees at every turn. All of which is yet more ammo for looking at alternatives like Linux for the OS, or Google for apps.   

* Remember the bad economy? It was in all the papers. Taking advantage of others by raising prices "just because you can" in a bad economy isn't offering a helping hand to your loyal customers. It sounds more like a way to stave off any interest customers might have in buying your product until customers have the proverbial license renewal "gun to their head". If you were going to pick a good time for a price increase, this probably isn't it. Maybe Microsoft's economic advisors see an upswing in the economy around the time Windows 7 will be released. Lets hope so, but even it that's the case, this still isn't the time to raise prices.

* Why should we pay (reward) Microsoft to fix your own problems. Seems more like twisted Wall Street logic than common sense logic. Clearly Microsoft is looking for ways to turn around decreasing growth in Windows licensing revenues, but failing with Vista and then turning around with a Windows 7 price increase is a big slap in the face. We've had enough of that kind of stuff with all the absurd banking and car manufacture bailout/handout money that we'll likely never see again.

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