When it comes to Windows 7, Microsoft seems to be doing everything it can to convince users to buy a legitimate copy. It offered large discounts during its now-finished (in the U.S.) pre-order program. It has also been looking at ways of actively discouraging piracy of its new OS.
Earlier this week, an OEM master key from Lenovo leaked. According to Alex Kochis, Director of Genuine Windows at Microsoft, Microsoft has moved fast to combat the potential of an ensuing piracy free-for-all. It has blacklisted the key, delivering a new key to Lenovo. It is working with Lenovo to ensure all Windows 7 PCs that it ships use the new key and none use the old key. All Windows 7 installs using the leaked key will be blacklisted and customers will be warned that they have a non-genuine version of Windows when trying to perform typical OS operations and maintenance.
Mr. Kochis describes, "We've worked with that manufacturer so that customers who purchase genuine copies of Windows 7 from this manufacturer will experience no issues validating their copy of Windows 7. At the same time we will seek to alert customers who are using the leaked key that they are running a non-genuine copy of Windows. It's important to note that no PCs will be sold that will use this key."
Meanwhile, Microsoft unveiled its Anytime upgrade plan and its much anticipated Family Pack pricing. The family pack will be offered at release on October 22 and will include three licenses of Windows Home Premium. The total price is $149.99, or $49.99 per license -- the same as the pre-order but no time limit. The obvious limitation is that you have to purchase three licenses to get the discount, but considering you save $200 that seems a fair bargain. Microsoft says it’s a thank you to all the hard work the public did beta testing the product.
Meanwhile the upgrade program -- offered in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US -- will allow for cheaper upgrades. Moving from the Windows 7 Starter edition to Windows Home Premium will only cost $79.99 (normally $99.99 for Home Premium upgrade), moving from Home Premium to Professional will cost $89.99 (normally $199.99), and from Home Premium to Ultimate will cost $139.99 (normally $219.99).
Microsoft hopes the competitive price offers will convince users to upgrade their existing computers to Windows 7 and to upgrade their new computers from their base OS (Home Premium for most OEMs) to a fancier version. The common sense approach they're taking with their pricing seems like a great idea and should help the company produce even greater profits and turn Windows 7 into a resounding sales success, especially given the high quality of the product.