Windows 7 Upgrade Pricing Means Mixed IT Shops For A Long Time

But In The End Will Microsoft's $50 Promotion Stick Long Term

So which is it? Are we going to have aggressive pricing for Windows 7 so we can finally move on from Vista and XP, or will we see the Microsoft of old, overcharging for Windows upgrades, this time starting at $120 for entry level Windows 7 versions. Well, for two weeks we'll see both; the aggressive plus the old approach to pricing, and then were back to the old way across the board. You can plunk down $49, now through July 11th, to pre-order Windows at retailers Best Buy and Amazon. Even Microsoft's two week special doesn't hold a candle to Apple's Mac OS X Snow Leopard $29 upgrade pricing. I can see the "I'm a Mac" commercial coming now.

If I'm a business, especially in this economy, the last thing I'd do is part with $120 + per machine for Windows 7, no matter how great the upgrade. Vista's certainly not perfect, but if you've already lived with Vista this long, it's hard to justify 5, 10, 50 or hundreds of upgrades at $120. The Microsoft Partners I work with are selling boxes with the Windows XP downgrade, because most customers don't want Vista on their desktop. I understand their concern.

So if Windows 7 lowest upgrade is $120, what's the full boat going to cost? $220? $300? More? Buying a new PC now or after the Windows 7 release, is obviously your easiest path to Windows 7. But at these prices, I don't see many upgrades (except for maybe the most frustrated Vista users) happening soon.

All of this means we're going to have a mixed Windows environment for a long time to come. Existing machines will stay Windows XP. Vista machines will likely remain Vista machines. And new boxes will slowly (even more slowly in this economy) bring Windows 7 into businesses as new PCs arrive with windows 7 already installed.

I had hoped to see sub-$100 upgrade pricing for the Home versions, and at least Vista Business upgrades for at most for $100. It's one thing to see Microsoft back off on a Windows 7 feature decision, but getting them to rethink their pricing isn't likely to happen.

UPDATE: I thought I'd add a postscript to this blog post. One possibility I've been pondering is if Microsoft's two week $49 pre-order promo might have longer legs than just two weeks. Maybe we'll see multiple extensions of the promo, with it eventually becoming the standard upgrade entry pricing. I think it's very much a possibility.

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