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Prices have dropped since Windows Vista

At last Microsoft has answered the one major remaining question about Windows 7 -- what the price point will be.  Today Microsoft unleashed a plethora of information, with Windows 7 retail pricing, upgrade information, launch details, and a preorder deal all disclosed.

Likely feeling the heat from competitor Apple's $29 price point for OS X Snow Leopard (set to release in September), Microsoft has reduced the price of its most popular edition -- Home Premium -- to $119.99 for upgrades and $199.99 for full retail copies.  Both price points are $40 less than Vista's original Home Premium price.

Prices for Business and Ultimate version will stay in line with current Windows Vista prices, with the Ultimate price being $40 cheaper than Vista's original debut price.  Please refer to the table below for easy retail and upgrade price comparisons.

Upgrade Retail Pricing:

Windows Vista as of 1/2007 Price Windows Vista as of 2/2008 Price Windows 7 as of 10/2009 Price
Home Premium $159.99 Home Premium $129.99 Home Premium $119.99
Business $199.99 Business $199.99 Professional $199.99
Ultimate $259.99 Ultimate $219.99 Ultimate $219.99

Full Retail Pricing:
Windows Vista as of 1/2007 Price Windows Vista as of 2/2008 price Windows 7 as of 10/2009 Price
Home Premium $239.99 Home Premium $239.99 Home Premium $199.99
Business $299.99 Business $299.99 Professional $299.99
Ultimate $399.99 Ultimate $319.99 Ultimate $319.99

With Windows 7 the version structure (follow the link for comparison of features) has been simplified slightly, which is part of why there's not more of a price drop for Business and Ultimate.  Each version is now a superset of the lesser version(s) below it.  With Windows Vista this was not the case.  So while you may pay the same amount for Professional or Ultimate, Microsoft says you'll get more OS for your money.

Like with Vista, upgrade or purchasing the equivalent of the previous OS version don't require a clean install, while those downgrading does (so a Vista Business to Windows 7 Professional install would not require a clean install).  All XP upgrades will require clean installs, and all 32-bit to 64-bit upgrades will require clean installs.

Microsoft has tried to extend an olive branch to the EU despite having been forced to exclude Internet Explorer from the OS due to antitrust accusations.  It is not going to offer Windows 7 upgrades in Europe, but will instead offer the full retail version at prices equivalent to the American upgrade prices.  Microsoft say that this was the best option, despite being less profitable, as it did not have time to test the functionality of upgrades without Internet Explorer.

From June 26 to July 11, while supplies last Microsoft will offer special preorder pricing.  It will be offering in the U.S. Windows 7 Home Premium for $49.99 and Windows 7 Professional for $99.99, a savings of $70 and $100 respectively (In the U.S. preorders are for upgrade versions).  Canada and Japan enjoy similar deals. 

Microsoft shows Europeans even more loving with Germany and France receiving Windows 7 Home Premium (€49.99) and Windows 7 Professional (€109.99) preorder prices.  The UK, also part of the EU, receives Windows 7 Home Premium (£49.99) and Windows 7 Professional (£99.99) preorder prices.  The EU preorders will be for full versions, and will likely be the cheapest available route to purchase a full retail version.

Microsoft also announced back-to-school upgrade bundle deals.  It will be working with OEMs to offer Vista PCs which come with a copy of Windows 7, ready to upgrade upon release.  Details will be found here.

Windows 7 will be released in 14 languages -- 14 languages: English, Spanish, Japanese, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Chinese (Hong Kong).




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