As Microsoft announced the pricing for the forthcoming Windows 7 operating system (OS), it gave news that apart from the full packaged product, customers would also be offered a lower-priced ‘Upgrade’ version. Europe will technically be excluded from this offering, but will still benefit from the savings it brings.
While Windows 7 Home Premium (Full) will retail at US$199.99, the Home Premium (Upgrade) costs US$80 less at US$119.99 and is available for those with an existing Vista or XP Windows licence.
Brad Brooks, corporate VP for Windows Consumer Marketing, explained in an interview that for us here in Europe, Microsoft "will not have a separate upgrade SKU for the packaged retail product versions of Windows 7 at GA, but we will be offering upgrade pricing on our full licences to make sure that European customers who want to upgrade have the pricing options available in the rest of the world."
Sounds complicated? It may be akin to the previous restrictions following an anti-trust investigation from the Europe Commission surrounding Microsoft’s web browser dominance on PCs, which is leading to an absence of Internet Explorer pre-installed on new Windows 7 PCs all across the EU.
"We will be offering upgrade pricing on our full licences to make sure that European customers who want to upgrade have the pricing options available in the rest of the world," said Brandon LeBlanc on the official Windows 7 blog.
The Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program starts tomorrow, so anyone who buys a new PC between then and when the OS goes on sale can avail of the discounted upgrade price up until 31 January 2010.
Pre-orders for Windows 7 in UK, France and Germany (and presumably Ireland too) start 15 July, and will run until 14 August.
By Marie Boran
Pictured: a peek at theWindows 7 Taskbar